RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s the start of the most wonderful time of the year. The 77th Annual Raleigh Christmas Parade filled the streets of downtown Saturday morning.
It was held virtually last year due to the pandemic.
This year, the streets were filled with people ready to celebrate the holidays and each other.
It’s the sound of the drums and cheers that bring even more life and energy to the sights of dancers, exotic cars, and holiday-themed displays, floating down the streets of downtown Raleigh.
“My favorite part of the parade is the bands,” said 6-year-old Ashley Ditz.
There were some fan favorites of the 115 parade entries.
“One of my favorite floats was the one with all of the animals on it,” explained 9-year-old Brownlen McCallie.
People packed the streets for the parade, for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nearly mile-and-a-half parade route is what many said was the missing piece of the holiday season.
“I’m just really excited for Christmas and stuff,” said 12-year-old Ruthann McCallie.
For some, this is tradition.
“I love it, I love it, I love it. I love Christmas. I love the holidays. I love the community and I love seeing the children out here,” said Felicia Cameron.
Cameron estimated she’s gone to the parade at least 15 times.
But for others, this could be the start of a new tradition.
“It’s my first time,” said Trent Bosak. “I just moved to Raleigh at the end of July.”
Standing shoulder to shoulder, with smiles wide, the season of cheer and thankfulness truly began.
“It makes me feel good that everyone is coming out together as one, to celebrate the holidays and to celebrate Raleigh,” said Cameron.
“It makes me feel really good because I like to see people happy,” added McCallie.
Typically, 65,000 people head to the streets to watch the parade.
The Raleigh Christmas Parade is the largest parade between Atlanta and Washington, D.C.