RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 2023 Raleigh Christmas Parade went off without a hitch, ushering in the official start of the holiday shopping season in Raleigh.
The parade begain with a special holiday performance by American Idol Finalist Huntergirl.
After that the bands, dancers, animals, giant balloons and much more followed.
The big man himself -- SANTA -- closed out the parade in style.
Big thanks to everybody who came out to watch or participate in the annual tradition. Remember when you're working through your holiday shopping list to shop locally the help support our local economy.
The parade started on Hillsborough Street at St. Mary's Street. It proceeded down to the State Capitol and turned right onto Salisbury Street. It then made a couple quick turns around the State Capitol -- left onto Morgan Street, right onto Fayetteville Street. The parade will then continue down Fayetteville Street until Lenoir Street.
That's approximately 1.4 miles, and it is expected to last about 2.5 hours.
This year's parade looked different than years past. That's because motorized vehicles were not allowed.
The decision comes a year after 11-year-old Hailey Brooks was tragically killed by a truck pulling a float in the parade. Brooks' family came out supporting the continuation of the parade, after Raleigh city leaders tried to cancel it while evoking Brooks' memory.
Hailey's life will be remembered during the beginning of the parade with a moment of silence. People will also be wearing special pins throughout the event and a mural has been created in her honor.
The weather is going to be pretty good for the parade. The sun will be out and temperatures will be warmer than usual. In fact, this could be the warmest Raleigh Christmas Parade in over a decade.
Temperatures will be in the mid 60s for the start of the parade and could rise into the 70s by the end of it. However, do be aware that it will be windy.
Combine those wind gusts with shadows of the high-rise buildings in downtown Raleigh, and you might find you still need a jacket for the event.