Parade History

The Raleigh Christmas Parade has been a beloved community event since it began in 1939. Shortly after it’s inception, the parade was put on hiatus during WWII before resuming in 1945. The Greater Raleigh Merchants Association has had the honor of organizing the Raleigh Christmas Parade since 1944!

Looking back at 75 years of the Raleigh Christmas Parade
Why is the Raleigh Christmas Parade held before Thanksgiving?

Click here to learn more about this annual tradition!

Past Parades

2021 – 77th Raleigh Christmas Parade

2020 – 76th Raleigh Christmas Parade

For the first time since World War II, the Raleigh Christmas Parade did not take place in its traditional form rolling through the streets of Downtown Raleigh. Instead, viewers gathered around their TVs in Christmas jammies with hot cocoa in hand to watch the 76th Raleigh Christmas Parade Celebration on ABC11 featuring all new original content. There were still performances and community comradery, while audiences enjoyed one tradition that wasn’t canceled due to the Novel Coronavirus. The virtual parade was a joyous celebration for community groups and those watching at home. 

  • Grand Marshal: First Responders

2019 – 75th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Jessica McDonald of the North Carolina FC & FIFA World Cup Champion
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos (Photographer: RL Photography)

2018 – 74th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Cindy Eckert, self-made serial entrepreneur and founder of The Pink Ceiling
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos (Photographer: Parlez-Vous Photography)

2017 – 73rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Raleigh Fire Department in honor of their heroic response to the five-alarm fire in Downtown Raleigh that Summer 
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos (Photographer: InBetween the Blinks Photography)

2016 – 72nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Roger Krupa in honor of his dedication and years of service to the City of Raleigh and development of the Raleigh Convention Center
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos (Photographer: InBetween the Blinks Photography)

2015 – 71st Raleigh Christmas Parade

2014 – 70th Raleigh Christmas Parade

Parade balloons return after a 3 year hiatus due to a worldwide helium shortage.

  • Grand Marshal: Ira David Wood III, Executive Director of Theatre in the Park, stars as “Scrooge” in their annual production of A Christmas Carol
  • Special Appearances: NC State Marching Band
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos

2013 – 69th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Justin LeBlanc, NC State Professor, Fashion Designer, and Project Runway contestant
  • Special Appearances: Fly over
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos (Photographer: Nancy Thomas Photo)

2012 – 68th Raleigh Christmas Parade

2011 – 67th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Scotty McCreery, Winner of Season 10 of American Idol on May 25, 2011
  • Watch Parade
  • View Photos (Photographer: Nancy Thomas Photo)

2010 – 66th Raleigh Christmas Parade

2009 – 65th Raleigh Christmas Parade

2008 – 64th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Josh Hamilton, Major League Baseball Player, attended Athens Drive High School in Raleigh
  • Watch Parade

2007 – 63rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

2006 – 62nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

The Raleigh Christmas Parade returns to Fayetteville Street! After being converted in the 1970s to a pedestrian mall, Fayetteville St. was restored in 2006 to a driveable main street.

  • Grand Marshal: Charlie Gaddy, Bob DeBardelaben, and Bobbi Battista – Former WRAL-TV anchors
  • Watch Parade

2005 – 61st Raleigh Christmas Parade

2004 – 60th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Justin Gaitlin, World’s Fastest Man

2003 – 59th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Clay Aiken, Singer & Runner-up on the 2nd season of American Idol in 2003

2002 – 58th Raleigh Christmas Parade

2001 – 57th Raleigh Christmas Parade

2000 – 56th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1999 – 55th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1998 – 54th Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Dr. Leroy T Walker, head coach for the North Carolina Central University track team and the first black president of the United States Olympic Committee.

1997 – 53rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

  • Grand Marshal: Doug E Doug, actor known for his role of Griffin Vesey on the CBS sitcom Cosby and Sanka Coffie in the film Cool Runnings.

1996 – 52nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1995 – 51st Raleigh Christmas Parade

1994 – 50th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1993 – 49th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1992 – 48th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1991 – 47th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1990 – 46th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1989 – 45th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1988 – 44th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1987 – 43rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1986 – 42nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1985 – 41st Raleigh Christmas Parade

1984 – 40th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1983 – 39th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1982 – 38th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1981 – 37th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1980 – 36th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1979 – 35th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1978 – 34th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1977 – 33rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1976 – 32nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1975 – 31st Raleigh Christmas Parade

1974 – 30th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1973 – 29th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1972 – 28th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1971 – 27th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1970 – 26th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1969 – 25th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1968 – 24th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1967 – 23rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1966 – 22nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1965 – 21st Raleigh Christmas Parade

1964 – 20th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1963 – 19th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1962 – 18th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1961 – 17th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1960 – 16th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1959 – 15th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1958 – 14th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1957 – 13th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1956 – 12th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1955 – 11th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1954 – 10th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1953 – 9th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1952 – 8th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1951 – 7th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1950 – 6th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1949 – 5th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1948 – 4th Raleigh Christmas Parade

1947 – 3rd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1946 – 2nd Raleigh Christmas Parade

1945 – 1st Raleigh Christmas Parade