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Thousands turn out for 70th year of the Raleigh Christmas Parade

Toy Soldiers from the Nutcracker stop for a short performance during the Raleigh Christmas Parade in downtown Raleigh.
Toy Soldiers from the Nutcracker stop for a short performance during the Raleigh Christmas Parade in downtown Raleigh. jhknight@newsobserver.com

Thousands of spectators lined the streets of downtown Raleigh Saturday morning for the 70th anniversary performance of the Raleigh Christmas Parade.

The parade traditionally kicks off the holiday season before Thanksgiving. This year the parade began at 9:40 a.m. and ran, as usual, along Hillsborough and Fayetteville streets, taking about 2.5 hours to travel the 1.5-mile route.

It featured 115 entries, including N.C. State University’s 300-strong marching band and 22 others as well as giant helium balloons and an appearance at the end by a special resident of the North Pole. (See his special message to the children of the Triangle in the second video below.)

If you missed the parade, you can catch a rebroadcast on WRAL-TV and UNC-TV on Christmas morning. (You can also see the highlights in a video by our Jill Knight in the first video below.)

Last year’s Raleigh parade drew 65,000 spectators, according to parade director Jennifer Martin.

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