Join us on Thanksgiving Day for this Charlotte tradition that has entertained and inspired audiences since 1947. Complete with dance and choral performances, marching bands from around the region, larger-than-life floats, balloons and some of your favorite characters. This year’s parade will kick off the holiday season, Charlotte-style!


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The Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a holiday tradition in Charlotte since 1947. Over nearly seven decades, hundreds of thousands of participants, volunteers, sponsors, families and friends have centered their Thanksgiving traditions around this parade.

What began as a local holiday parade has grown into a magical showcase of performances, floats, dignitaries, celebrities, marching bands, balloons and surprises. Today, the parade is broadcast into 1.5 million homes from around the region, providing the gift of entertainment and joy to young and old.

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In 2013, it appeared the parade and scholarship program would cease to exist. However, through the generous support of new title sponsor Novant Health, the parade was given new life and rebranded as the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day parade. The 67th parade attracted its biggest audience yet: more than 100,000 attendees on-site and more than 180,000 television viewers. New performances and floats were added to existing parade favorites for an unforgettable Thanksgiving event.

The parade travels along Tryon Street through Uptown Charlotte. The 2016 lineup includes 18 marching bands from across the region, and bands from across the region and the country are encouraged to apply. High school bands are judged by qualified adjudicators and trophies are awarded to all participants, along with $10,000 in cash and prizes allocated to the top bands. In addition, a small number of honorariums are available for traveling marching bands.

Stay Connected with the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade and be the first to know when tickets for reserved seating are available for purchase!


Upgrade your parade experience

Upgrade your parade experience

Reserved seating tickets go on sale October 1, 2017

Breakfast with Santa: Thanksgiving Morning, 7:30-9:30 at the Marriott Center City

Build a holiday weekend to remember around The Novant Heath Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Your new Thanksgiving weekend tradition starts with choosing one of the convenient hotel packages within walking distance of the Parade. Next, make your Thanksgiving meal reservations at one of the participating restaurants along the Parade route, and receive complementary reserved Parade seating. Cap the weekend by taking advantage of all of the convenient shopping and entertainment options available exclusively through this limited-time only offer.

  • $7 off Adult Admission to Carowind’s Winterfest
  • Simon Malls Shopping Passport for Black Friday Shopping (Premium Outlets, SouthPark, Concord Mills)
  • Small Business Saturday in Historic South End
  • Shopping specials for Christmas Village in Romare Bearden Park
  • Free Ice Skate Rental at WBT Holiday on Ice
  • 10% off Sound of Music at the Belk Theater (Friday & Saturday evening performances)
  • 20% off tickets to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical at The Children’s Theater

Check back frequently for additional specials and discounts as Thanksgiving Day approaches.



become a Volunteer

become a Volunteer

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade relies on a dedicated team of volunteers to ensure the parade continues to entertain and delight audiences on the street and watching on television.  Working together, our volunteers help create excitement and continue the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade Order of the Wishbone offers several volunteer opportunities, providing a role to fit every interest and ability. We are looking for individuals and groups who are interested in using their time and talent to support this Charlotte tradition.

Volunteer Roles:

It takes 1,000 dedicated volunteers to produce the parade. From audience engagement to behind-the-scenes, volunteer opportunities include:

  • Balloon Handlers
  • Costume Walkers
  • Marching Bands
  • Marshals
  • Puppeteers

Volunteer Benefits:

  • Special access to the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Branded jacket
  • Commemorative pin
  • Volunteer appreciation event

Volunteer Responsibility:

  • Agree to assignments throughout the year
  • Attend training sessions as required for specific volunteer job
  • Work on Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day
  • Support parade activities throughout the year

Group Volunteer Opportunities:

Volunteering with the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade is a fun and engaging way for your organization to bridge team-building with community service. Popular opportunities for groups include:

Costume walkers: Members of your group plan and create a group costume and submit for approval. If approved, you will be responsible for manufacturing. Walk in the parade and waive to spectators!

Balloon Handlers: Walk down Tryon St. as a team carrying a larger-than-life balloon!

Please contact: volunteers@novanthealththanksgivingparade.com with any questions.

be a part of the tradition

Volunteer registration for the 2017 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade is OPEN!





Will the parade be on TV?

  • Yes, the parade will be broadcast regionally on WBTV, Channel 3 (CBS) on Thanksgiving Day at 1:00 p.m. EST, or you can watch it live through our mobile app. https://guidebook.com/app/CLTParade/
  • The Parade will also be available streaming on WBTV online.

Where can I park?

  • Ample parking is available around Center City with differing prices. Click here for a map of local parking lots and garages.

Is there designated handicapped seating?

  • There is no designated handicapped seating along the parade route.  We recommend arriving around 7 a.m. to secure a prime spot up front on the sidewalk or along a street opening.



Can I buy a ticket for reserved seating?

How many years has there been a Thanksgiving Day parade in Charlotte?

  • The parade was founded in 1947. The 2017 parade will be the 70th year.

Can I participate in the parade?

  • Yes! You can participate as a volunteer, with a parade unit or as a sponsor.
  • Volunteers: We need your help for the 2017 parade! If you are interested in volunteering at the parade, please visit the Volunteers Page.
  • Parade units: Please visit the 'March in the Parade" section for more information and applications.

What is the parade route?

  • The parade will march North on Tryon Street from Stonewall St. to 9th St.

What time does the event start?

  • The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. on November 23, 2017.

Parade Location

N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28280




Check back August, 15 2017 for news!


Participate in the parade

Participate in the parade

The mission of the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade is to provide high-quality entertainment through an enjoyable, family-friendly experience that kicks off the holiday season.

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade, a privately-sponsored event, invites participants based exclusively on their ability to provide appropriate family entertainment suitable for this cherished national holiday. While the parade respects and embraces the diversity of causes in our community, state and nation, it cannot be used to promote special interests, no matter how worthy. 

The Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade organizers will not consider incomplete applications and reserve the right to make all determinations related to participation in the Parade on the basis of entertainment value. By submitting an application, prospective participants accept this participation policy.

In making decisions about participants, the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade considers whether prospective units :

  • Represent the best the region has to offer, such as health, sports, entertainment, the arts, and innovation
  • Promote tourism and enhance the marketing efforts of Charlotte’s Center City
  • Exemplify the region's wide cultural diversity
  • Present an attractive, cohesive, coordinated group appearance
  • Add to the Parade's overall entertainment value

No commercial entities are allowed to participate in the parade without a sponsorship. Please contact us for more information.

CCCP does not recognize pageant winners as an acceptable parade entry.

CCCP reserves the right to refuse entries that may be disruptive, overly loud or unruly or lack a theme, cause, or family-friendly message.


The parade organizers are seeking up to 16 marching bands to participate in the 2017 parade. This category is inclusive of woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments and may also include auxiliary units of flags, dancers, majorettes, rifles, letter girls and pompom girls. The selection committee will extend invitations to the top 16 bands to participate in the 2017 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. Please see the application for more information regarding the WBTV Battle of the Bands Rules and Regulations.


This category contains dance teams versed in various types of dance, including but not limited to: step/drill, Irish dance, and clogging. We are looking for teams that are both talented and entertaining. Dance teams may be assigned to a sponsored float or unit to enhance the entertainment value. Parade organizers will work with the dance teams to determine appropriate music and costumes.


This category includes any units that are motorized or comprised of walkers and offers an excellent opportunity to let your creativity show. Units included in this category may include, but are not limited to:

  • “Specialty vehicles,” such as antique cars, fire engines, carriages, race cars, etc.
  • Car and motorcycle clubs
  • Community organizations or neighborhood groups
  • Talent able to perform while walking (jugglers, stilt walkers, etc.)
  • Dogs and other tame animals accompanied by human handlers. Handlers are required to clean up any animal waste that occurs during staging, route and disband areas.
  • No saddled horses are allowed in the parade.

Have you always wanted to walk in the parade but you don't fit into any of the above categories? Contact us for more info!