What you should know before heading to this year’s Thanksgiving parade

Unlike previous parades, this year's march down Tryon Street will happen at night...the day before Thanksgiving.

If you’re planning to attend this year’s Thanksgiving parade in uptown Charlotte, here are some things you need to know, courtesy of Charlotte Center City Partners:

For starters, this year’s parade won’t be held on Thanksgiving Day. Rather, it will be a twilight affair starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Organizers are calling it “Illuminated Imagination.”

The weather forecast calls for mostly clear skies and 45 degrees at 6 p.m., but a slight wind will make the temperature feel closer to 42 degrees.

Parade Facts

  • The parade is celebrating its 75th year.
  • Route is approximately one mile long, from 9th to Stonewall streets
  • More than 500 community volunteers support the parade as balloon handlers, costumed characters, marshals and logistical support
  • All of the parade floats are built locally using original designs
  • The parade is produced by Charlotte Center City Partners
  • WBTV will broadcast the parade live to 1.1 million television viewers from across the region, and will re-air it on Thanksgiving Day and on Christmas Day
  • Typically, 3,500 people participate (volunteering, walking, marching or riding) in the parade

Street Closures

Monday, Nov. 22 at 6:00 p.m.

  • South Tryon Street from Stonewall Street to MLK Boulevard

 Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 10:00 p.m.

  • North Tryon Street from 9th Street to 11th Street
  • 10th Street from Church Street to Tryon Street
  • Montford Point Street from College Street to Tryon Street

Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 5:00 p.m.

  • 9th Street from College Street to Church Street
  • 11th Street from College Street to Church Street
  • Hill Street from College Street to Tryon Street
  • Tryon Street from Morehead Street to 10th Street, including all cross streets in between (Hill, Stonewall, Levine, MLK, 3rd, 4th, Trade, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th between College and Church streets)

 Streets will reopen on a rolling basis after the parade concludes and at the discretion of CMPD.

Helpful Tips

  • Members of the public are encouraged to wear masks when they are unable to practice social distancing; parade participants have additional COVID-19 protocols in place.
  • Parking is available throughout Uptown at prevailing market rates. Attendees are encouraged to allow extra time to arrive and park to allow for street closures.
  • Attendees are encouraged to use light rail, streetcar, bus, Joy Rides or other modes of alternative transportation to access Uptown.
  • Tickets are not required to attend the parade! It is free and open to all. However, VIP tickets, which guarantee seats along a specific section of the parade route, are still available.
  • The Parade takes approximately two hours; it is expected to conclude around 8:00 p.m.

Parade Units

  • Grand Marshal: Dr. David Priest; SVP and Chief Safety, Quality and Epidemiology Officer, Novant Health
  • More than 100 organizations participate in the Parade
  • 28 specialty units
  • 12 floats
  • 15 Marching bands
  • Eight balloons
  • Eight “segwalloons,” cold air balloons wrapped around Segways, a patent-pending design unique to Charlotte
  • One 5-foot-6 walking turkey, Queen Charlotte

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  1. I’ve been to every Thanksgiving Parade since we moved to Charlotte 41 years ago from Miami. It’s absolutely ridiculous & absurd that the time has changed to 6pm on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The parade has been a family tradition with our children as well. The time change has to be the worst decision concerning the Thanksgiving Day parade, ever!!!!

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