Looking back at 75 years of the Raleigh Christmas Parade

Monday, November 18, 2019
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Looking back at 75 years of the Raleigh Christmas Parade

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- For the 75th year, the Raleigh Christmas Parade will kick off the holiday season in the City of Oaks.

The parade started in 1939. Yes that was 80 years ago, but the parade took a break during World War 2--resuming in 1945.

Now the parade moves through downtown Raleigh's Fayetteville Street, but that was not always the case.

"It (Fayetteville Street) had two fountains in it," former Parade Director John Odom said. "Fayetteville Street was closed at that time. We went down Salisbury Street so it made it a little different."

One thing that has not changed over the years is the support from parade fans.

"I see the same people that have come over and over again, bringing their children and their grandchildren and that kind of thing. It is a generational thing here for the city of Raleigh and Wake County," Odom said.

Odom has been involved with the parade for over 25 years.

"It actually starts Christmas for me. It's a time that I think about my family and my beliefs and all those kind of things. It's an important time for me," Odom said.

For Odom and many others, seeing Santa Claus wrap up the parade is the unofficial start to the holiday season.