Before you dig into a scrumptious dinner on Thanksgiving Day, kick off the holiday season in Charlotte, North Carolina by heading to the 2010 Belk Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade.
Sure, you’re dreaming of the turkey drumstick that awaits, and Aunt Lucy’s cornbread dressing, but go downtown and prepare to be entertained by marching bands, floats, and carrousel queens. Souvenir vendors will sell their wares, and for those who just can’t wait for that turkey drumstick, food vendors will be in plentiful supply.
The Thanksgiving Parade in Charlotte has been going strong for over six decades, but there are some changes this year. Earlier this year, the name was changed from Carolinas’ Thanksgiving Day Parade to Belk Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade, to reflect the name of the retail sponsor.
The parade route has also changed. Although it still starts at 10 a.m., the route will begin at North Tryon and 10th Street and end at the Levine Center for the Arts at South Tryon at Stonewall. In years past, the parade turned at 3rd Street and ended on Davidson.
The best part about a parade is, you just never know what might happen. According to the parade’s website, the parade got its start in early November 1947 as the Charlotte Christmas Festival and attracted about 125,000 people.
In 1950, there was another name change, and 500,000 people turned out as cowboy star Hopalong Cassidy, led the Carolinas Carrousel. Santa’s float broke down in 1957, leaving the man in the red suit by the side of the road, and 1961 has the distinction of being the wettest Carrousel on record.
In 1968, CBS broadcast 27 minutes of the parade nationwide, and in 1981, the marching band competition was added to the lineup. Charlotte celebrated the parade’s 60th anniversary in 2007, the same year Belk took on the role of presenting sponsor.
The Belk Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade typically draws 110,000 people, so stake your spot on the curb early for Thanksgiving 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you can’t make it to the actual event, it will be broadcast on TV.