RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh’s Christmas parade is less than three weeks away.
This year, city officials initially cancelled the event, but reversed course and said it will go on without cars and motorized floats, citing safety concerns. Parades since then, however, including one just this month had cars and motorized floats, leaving some people confused.
Joey Stansbury, the Director of Wake Citizens Coalition, points to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Caribbean Carnival Parade, and Broughton High School’s Homecoming Parade this month as events with cars and motorized floats.
He wants to know why the Christmas parade has a different standard, adding seeing the recent Broughton parade left him perplexed.
“These other parades, would have faced the same safety issues with motorized floats,” Stansbury said. “It’s just a question of where the standards lie, and simply put, why is it acceptable in these other cases and not acceptable for the Raleigh Christmas parade?”
CBS 17 took his question to city leaders.
In a statement a city spokesperson wrote:
“The Raleigh Christmas Parade is a complex, unique event and the scale of this event is different than any other the City of Raleigh permits.”
The spokesperson also pointed to differences between the recent homecoming parade and the Christmas parade saying the homecoming parade is a few minutes and the Christmas parade is a few hours; the homecoming route is shorter and not in Downtown high-impact areas and has four floats as opposed to the Christmas parade’s 59 floats and 128 total entries.
Parade organizers said the number of floats vary each year and typically there are 40-45 floats.
“We are continuing to process the permit request for the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association and are looking forward to a fun and safe event everyone can enjoy,” the spokesperson said.
Jennifer Martin is the Executive Director of Shop Local Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, which organizes the parade. She said she’s disheartened to see other parades with floats.
“It’s discouraging,” Martin said. “I think we worked really, really hard this last year to try and come back this year with a parade that would truly honor, that would show that change has been active, and change has been done.”
She said it’s been a little bit challenging to help groups rework their parade entry, but she’s committed to putting on the parade.
“We believe that, you know, our community still needs this event and we believe we have to honor this year,” Martin said. “And so we’re going to continue forward with it without those additional pieces that normally you would have in a parade.”
CBS 17 asked Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin about the differences in the parade. She also pointed to the number of floats in the Christmas parade. CBS 17 also asked her Monday if there’s a chance of the rules changing before the parade and she said they’ve made their decision and the city’s not reversing it, based on the advice of the City Attorney.