There’s been some controversy surrounding Saturday’s Raleigh Christmas Parade, with WRAL losing its contract for official sponsorship to rival WTVD – and then vowing to broadcast the parade anyway.
It’s a move that has caused considerable heartburn for those at the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, the group that puts on the parade through its Shop Local Raleigh initiative.
But when you wade through all the bickering and posturing, what it really means is that home viewers will have to make a choice about where – and when – to watch.
The parade – officially branded as the 2017 ABC11/LeithCars.com Raleigh Christmas Parade presented by Shop Local Raleigh – is the 73rd in Raleigh’s history and has an official start time of 10 a.m. But WRAL is positioned earlier along the parade route, so you’ll get to see the parade a bit earlier with them. Over at WTVD, you can see special performances that will take place in front of their Fayetteville Street studio. More details on that below.
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The parade lasts about two hours. The 1.4-mile route begins on Hillsborough Street at St. Mary’s Street and proceeds to the State Capitol, where it turns right onto Salisbury and then left on Morgan before proceeding down Fayetteville Street to Lenoir Street.
The parade features numerous marching bands, giant helium balloons, lots of decorated floats and of course, Santa Claus.
If you watch on WTVD-ABC11
What you’ll see: WTVD will broadcast from in front of its ABC11 newsroom on Fayetteville Street, from 10 a.m. to noon. WTVD has some special things planned, including a live performance by Miss North Carolina in front of the ABC11 newsroom. The station also has a special guest – Tom Llamas, chief national correspondent and anchor of ABC News “World News Tonight” weekend editions – who will ride on the ABC11 float along with local anchors and personalities.
Where/how to watch: In addition to watching on your TV, you can watch online at ABC11.com; on the ABC11 mobile app; on ABC11’s Facebook Live; and on the ABC11 streaming app via Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Sling, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV (you need a cable sign-on to access these streaming services).
If you watch on WRAL
What you’ll see: WRAL’s cameras will be set up at the corner of West Edenton and Hillsborough Streets. Because the station is set up earlier on the parade route, its broadcast is scheduled to start earlier than WTVD’s – at 9:30 a.m. The two and a half hour broadcast will be commercial free.
Where/how to watch: You can watch WRAL TV and also on its WRAL News mobile app; on Facebook; and on the WRAL streaming app via Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, YouTube TV, Hulu and CenturyLink (you’ll need a cable sign-on for these). Of course, AT&T U-verse subscribers won’t be able to watch on WRAL, because their contract dispute means WRAL (and Fox 50) have been off U-verse for more than nine weeks now.
Not airing on UNC-TV this year
For the past several years, UNC-TV also aired the parade live statewide (and several other times in repeats), but UNC-TV has opted not to broadcast the parade this year.
The 2017 Christmas Parade
The Raleigh Christmas Parade always takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year’s parade takes place on Saturday, Nov. 18.
ABC11, the official broadcast sponsor, is hosting a Holiday Food Drive that will be going on during the parade. Parade-goers who bring three or more cans of food will get a Zaxby’s coupon. The station also will partner with the US Postal Service to collect letters to Santa at the ABC11 Winter Village at the courthouse on Fayetteville Street. The Winter Village will also have an Elfie Selfie station, with an elf available for photos. Food donations can be dropped there as well.