Belk Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade Reaches Milestone 65th anniversary | Community Spirit
It started in 1947 when local businessmen created a parade to attract holiday shoppers to uptown Charlotte. Sixty-five years later, the Carrousel Parade—now known as the Belk Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade—is still drawing crowds on Thanksgiving Day as it marches down Tryon Street to celebrate the kick-off to the holiday season.
Recognized as the fourth largest Thanksgiving Parade in the United States, the parade features floats, marching bands and a plethora of colorful, festive groups that march, ride, dance and walk along the parade route to the delight of close to 100,000 spectators. The broadcast of the parade on WBTV draws an audience of over 200,000 in a 22-county region.
Carolinas’ Carrousel, Inc., the non-profit organization that produces the parade, also runs the Carrousel Scholarship Program, which grants college scholarships to high school seniors in recognition of academic excellence and community involvement. Since it was founded in 1967, the scholarship program has awarded scholarships to hundreds of outstanding students, many of whom have gone on to remarkable college and professional careers.
“We are very proud of the contributions Carrousel has made in this region for decades,” said Jeff Collins, vice-president of First Citizens Bank and president of the board of Carolinas’ Carrousel, Inc. “To celebrate the Carrousel Parade’s 65th anniversary and the Carrousel Scholarship’s 45th anniversary, we are working to make this year’s programs the biggest and best ever. We are grateful for the support of Belk, our title sponsor, and other long-time sponsors like Food Lion, CPI Security Systems, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Piedmont Natural Gas and Time Warner Cable.”
Carrousel is currently seeking additional parade and scholarship sponsors and organizations, individuals or groups that would like to participate in the parade on Thanksgiving Day. For information on becoming a sponsor or participating in the 2012 Belk Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade, contact Carolinas’ Carrousel, Inc. at 704-525-0250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.