Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

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The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade, previously known as the Carolinas' Carrousel Parade and in 2008 and 2009 as the Carolinas' Thanksgiving Day Parade, [1] is a Thanksgiving Day parade held in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. The parade was founded in 1947, and in 2013 Novant Health became the parade's title sponsor, taking over sponsorship from Belk.

Starting in 1967, Carolina's Carrousel, Inc. has held a scholarship program for students recognizing those with outstanding academic achievements and community involvement. From 1998 to 2012 scholarships were also awarded to outstanding marching band students. The Carrousel Queen title was awarded to the high school senior girl with the top scholarship in the program; however, the title was changed to Carrousel Scholar in 2011.[2]

Traditionally, Carolinas' Carrousel Parade was one of the few Thanksgiving Day parades held in the afternoon as opposed to the morning (although the first several parades were held in the evening). However, the parade was moved to mornings beginning in 2008. The parade is the largest gathering of Carolinians and has been named as the fourth-largest in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 spectators.[3][4] The parade is also televised with tape-delay on CBS 3.[5] In 2016, it was streamed live on the station's web site.[6]


Carrousel Parade

  • 1947: The parade was founded by local businessmen to attract shoppers to uptown Charlotte and has since become a staple holiday event in uptown Charlotte.[7]
  • 1950: The parade moves to Thanksgiving Day.[8]
  • 1967: The impact of the parade continued with the creation of the scholarship program by Carolina's Carrousel, Inc. that awarded outstanding high school students in the region.[7]
  • 1968: CBS broadcasts the parade, which moves to the morning for this reason, as part of its Thanksgiving coverage.[8]
  • 1981: A marching band competition was added to the parade.[7]
  • 2005: The parade nearly doubled the number of floats to 23, and board members were hoping to find a way for the parade to be televised nationally.[9]
  • 2007: The light poles in uptown Charlotte prevented the parade from being able to support the large parade balloons. Therefore, to improve the parade, the 2007 event had 104 floats and entertainment such as dancers.[10] In 2007 the parade also celebrated its 60th anniversary and the introduction of a new sponsor, Belk who then became the title sponsor in 2010.[7]
  • 2008: For the first time since 1968, the Parade started at 10 a.m. rather than in the afternoon (the earlier start time attracted a much larger television viewing audience than in past years and was deemed a huge success).[10][11] Also in 2008, named Charlotte's parade as the 4th largest in the nation.[12]
  • 2012: The U.S. News & World Report included the parade on its list of "America's Best Thanksgiving Day Parades."[3]

Novant Health Parade

Snowman Segwaloon at 2013 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

In the summer of 2013, Carolinas Carrousel announced the parade would not happen that year after Belk was no longer the title sponsor; however, Novant Health took over as sponsor in August and the parade was able to continue as normal. Charlotte Center City Partners began producing the now Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade and brought new life to the annual parade.[7]

The first Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade started at 9:30 and provided more live entertainment. In addition to Novant Health taking over as sponsor, the parade offered more live performances at Levine Center for the Arts.[13] There was also the appearance of segwaloons, the creation of parade executive, Robert Krumbine. This creation is a cross between a Segway and a balloon and is unique to the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade.[14]

The 2013 parade also included 15 marching bands, 8 larger-than-life balloons, 15 floats, performers, sports organizations and community organizations and characters.

The 2014 parade was the first in many years to move northward, starting at Stonewall Street and ending at Ninth Street; Krumbine said this was the route the parade had to begin with. It included the song "Celebrate the Season" written by Rob Pottorf, and reserved seating for which tickets were sold.[15]

The parade continued to move north until 2018, when it returned to moving south again.[16][6][17][18]

With 2020 being cancelled on grounds of COVID-19 pandemic, CBS 3 will air a Best Of parade, plus virtual guests.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Price, Mark (November 14, 2016). "Grammy winner Anthony Hamilton is grand marshal of Thanksgiving parade". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e
  8. ^ a b David, Maria (November 25, 2015). "Carrousel Parade: A Thanksgiving tradition". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Steve Lyttle,"Marching On - And Up - New Leadership, More Floats Have Parade Organizers Thinking Big," The Charlotte Observer, November 24, 2005, p. 1B.
  10. ^ a b Celeste Smith, "Big-City Feel Energizes Parade - More Floats, Professional Production Enahnce Uptown Event," The Charlotte Observer, Friday, November 23, 2007, p. 1B.
  11. ^ Jeff Elder, "Documentary Guru Here Helpin' Tout Area History," The Charlotte Observer, May 22, 2008, p. 1D.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Steve Lyttle, "2013 Thanksgiving parade will have new look: Charlotte event will offer more live entertainment and start earlier this year," The Charlotte Observer, November 5, 2013, p. 1B.</
  14. ^
  15. ^ Lyttle, Steve (November 6, 2014). "Charlotte's Thanksgiving parade will have new wrinkles". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  16. ^ Johnston, Melinda (November 24, 2015). "10 things to know if you're headed to Charlotte's Thanksgiving parade". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  17. ^ Price, Mark (November 17, 2017). "Here's everything you need to know about Charlotte's Thanksgiving parade". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade to attract 100k in uptown". WBTV. November 21, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.

External links

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