RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Downtown Raleigh saw its first parade on Saturday since the end of 2022, when 11-year-old Hailey Brooks was struck and killed by a parade vehicle at the city’s Christmas Parade.
Hundreds of people lined Wilmington St. to watch the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade go by, but many people were focused on the safety.
“We were given a set of detailed instructions about what we needed to do today, that was sent to us beforehand and then a couple of days before the event we got more instructions about that,” Colm O’Loughlin said.
He drove a truck carrying a float for 3 Blue Birds Farm, a non-profit based in Raleigh.
O’Loughlin said he’s driven in a number of parades before, but has never seen safety measures like he did on Saturday.
“When we arrived this morning, we met with one of the organizers of the parade and he got that information from us and he did a detailed check of the vehicle and the trailer itself,” he said.
New rules included requiring all drivers to be at least 21-years-old, limiting the number of passengers in each parade vehicle, requiring drivers to bring their license, registration, and insurance cards, and making sure each car in the parade had liability coverage.
“I think it’s always a good thing to be safe, so every improvement they can make, I think is a great thing,” Deb Frizzell, one parade-goer said.
“I’m glad they made the changes, let’s make sure everybody stays safe,” Erik Dyke, another parade-goer agreed.
Parade-goers say with the changes implemented, the focus can be on celebrating Irish heritage and Irish-Americans right here in Raleigh.