RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There are 60 days left until the Raleigh Christmas Parade, and there are still a lot of questions about what the event will look like this year.
At first, parade organizers, Shop Local Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association were denied a permit for the event.
While it did get re-instated, city officials banned the use of any motorized floats or trucks.
But Parade organizers said they’ve made numerous changes to the rules, to make things as safe as possible.
For 78 years, Santa Claus, colorful moving floats and marching bands danced down downtown streets during the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade.
“The 2022 parade had a tragic accident that has left us all grappling with the unthinkable and in deep stages of grief and sadness,” said Jennifer Martin, during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
She’s fighting back against the restrictions for this year’s parade.
“We’ve put in countless hours working to plan a parade that would not only honor, but one that would also heal, unite and re-instill trust in the community,” said Martin.
Some of the new procedures include mandating how trailers should be attached to vehicles, requiring windows to be rolled down, age restrictions for drivers, and more.
“We need to know towing capacities, weight limits of vehicles. We need to be able to inspect every vehicle the morning of. But not only that, in advance, know who’s coming, who’s driving,” said Martin. “Requirements, regulations will be much more comprehensive on the safety, the level that we’re presenting. We’re prepared to handle that and to have safety consultants on-site to do those inspections.”
Martin said other parades, like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Caribe Parade and the upcoming Veteran’s Day Parade, have gotten the green light to proceed with their events, without the same restrictions.
She, and other organizers, are asking for a fair chance to continue the city-wide legacy.
“It’s just a time-honored tradition. And it’s we really want to come back and just find a way to truly honor and give this community the best that it can as it is the largest single one-day event in Downtown Raleigh,” said Martin.
The mayor and other city council members have asked to see the safety plan.
Martin said she hopes this will open the door to a conversation.