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Holiday Parades in the Southeast

Festive Southern Holiday Traditions


Heralding the arrival of the holiday season, annual holiday parades by the dozens provide festive cheer during November and December in the Southeast. Wherever you may be visiting, from the largest cities to the smallest country towns, there is likely to be a holiday parade taking place somewhere nearby to get you into the spirit of the season. These holiday parade highlights feature parades in some of the Southeast's most popular holiday tourist destinations. Also see:

Asheville Holiday Parade

Asheville, North Carolina - November 23, 2013
This community parade, a celebration of all of the holidays, has highlighted Asheville's holiday spirit since 1946. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and the theme for 2013 is A Star is Born. After the parade, festivities continue with JingleFest in Pack Square.

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Related: Christmas at Biltmore Estate
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Grand Illumination Parade

Norfolk, Virginia - November 23, 2013
Join 100,000 or so spectators in a synchronized countdown to the illumination of the Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth skylines, which kicks off the beginning of this annual holiday parade. The parade features floats, bands, giant helium balloons, Ole Saint Nick and more. The parade, themed Jingle Bell Jungle! this year, begins at 7 p.m.

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Related - 100 Miles of Lights

Raleigh Christmas Parade

Raleigh, North Carolina - November 23, 2013
Raleigh's annual Christmas Parade features fanciful floats, giant balloons, an array of bands, entertainers and more. The parade, which follows a 1.4 mile route and lasts about two and one-half hours, steps off at 9:40 a.m. (Rain Date is November 24th)

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Carolinas' Carrousel Parade | Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

Charlotte, North Carolina - November 28, 2013
- A Thanksgiving Day tradition since 1947, this annual parade draws spectators and participants from both of the Carolinas and has been recognized as the fourth largest Thanksgiving Parade in the United States. The 2013 parade was in danger of being cancelled, but will go on according to tradition thanks to a new title sponsor. Novant Health has signed on as the parade's title sponsor for the next three years and the 2013 parade is being called the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Light Up Louisville Parade

Louisville, Kentucky - November 29, 2013
Held each year on the day after Thanksgiving, Light Up Louisville has been a Louisville holiday tradition since 1981. Ushering in the Louisville holiday season, Light Up Louisville events include a colorful evening parade of lights, day and evening of live entertainment, a festival holiday market, family activities, the arrival of Santa Claus, fireworks and more.

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Charleston Christmas Parade

Charleston, South Carolina - December 1, 2013
A Charleston holiday tradition, this annual parade features bands, floats performers and marchers through the historic streets of downtown Charleston. It begins at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Calhoun and Meeting Streets and proceeds down King Street to Broad Street to Lockwood Blvd.

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Related - Top Things to Do in Charleston

Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Gatlinburg, Tennessee - December 6, 2013
This annual parade for young and old features marching bands from all over the Southeast U.S., giant helium balloons and more. The parade begins at 7:30 at Traffic Light 1A on Hwy 321 and ends about an hour-and-a-half later at Traffic Light 10.

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Related - Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

Nashville Christmas Parade

Nashville, Tennessee - December 6, 2013
The 61st Annual Nashville Christmas Parade showcases the city's rich history of music with floats, holiday lights illuminating the night sky, and the magical sounds of the holiday season. Always held on the first Friday in December.

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Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

Alexandria, Virginia - December 7, 2013
A highlight of the annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend in Old Town Alexandria, this popular parade features more than 100 Scottish Clans, pipe and drum bands, Scottish dancers, Scottie dog groups, re-enactment groups, Santa Claus and more. Other traditional annual events during the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend include a Christmas Marketplace and a Holiday Designer Tour of Homes.

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Children's Christmas Parade

Atlanta, Georgia - December 7, 2013
Featuring award-winning marching bands, holiday themed and animated floats, giant helium balloons and a Santa grand finale, this premiere annual parade kicks off the holiday season along Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta with holiday magic galore. Hours are 10:30 a.m. - Noon rain or shine.

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The Dominion Christmas Parade

Richmond, Virginia - December 7, 2013
This annual holiday parade marks the official start of the Richmond holiday season with colorful floats, star-spangled bands, high flying balloons and Santa. The parade begins at the Science Museum of Virginia, continues along Broad Street and ends at 7th Street. Start time is 10 a.m.

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Related - 100 Miles of Lights

Lighted Holiday Parade

Savannah, Georgia - December 7, 2013
A relative newcomer to the collection of holiday parades in the Southeast, the Savannah Lighted Holiday Parade begins at the waterfront on River Street and proceeds throughout the Historic District. Before the parade, enjoy a holiday celebration of regional arts and crafts and live holiday entertainment along River Street during Christmas on the River. The parade steps off at 5:30 p.m.

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