Everything you need to know for Charlotte’s Thanksgiving Day parade

Nine-year-old Harmony Beasley (right) struts her stuff with Harding High School dance team during the 2015 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Nine-year-old Harmony Beasley (right) struts her stuff with Harding High School dance team during the 2015 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

One of the longest running parades in North Carolina will celebrate its 69th birthday Thursday morning in uptown Charlotte.

Marching bands, floats, Olympic gold medals, beauty queens and Grammy winners will be among the 120 participants in the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The parade, founded in 1947, will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Day at the Levine Avenue of the Arts, then head north along Tryon Street to 9th Street.

Organizers say they’re expecting the biggest crowd in the parade’s history, which means more than the 100,000 spectators who showed up last year. (Another 1.5 million watched on TV last year.)

Among the highlights Thursday will be Grammy-winning artist Anthony Hamilton, a Charlotte native who’ll serve as the 2016 Grand Marshal. The South Mecklenburg High School graduate has a career resume that includes performing for President Barack Obama and collaborating with other artists ranging from Carlos Santana to Al Green.

If you plan to make the parade a part of your Thanksgiving Day festivities, here are some things you’ll want to know:

What will the weather be like?

The high is projected to be 71 degrees and the low will be 41, so it is likely to be in the mid 50s when the parade starts. Dress for cool and breezy weather in the shade of uptown’s tall buildings. There’s a very slim chance of rain, so don’t bother bringing an umbrella or rainwear.

What is the route?

The parade will march north on Tryon Street from Stonewall Street to 9th Street.

What time does it start?

The parade begins at 9:30 a.m.

Will it be on TV?

Yes, the parade will be broadcast regionally on WBTV, Channel 3 (CBS) on Thanksgiving Day at 4 p.m., or you can watch it live through a mobile app, https://guidebook.com/app/CLTParade/.

It will also air again on Christmas Day and will be available on demand through Time Warner Cable.

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 seating for people with disabilities?

There is no designated disabled seating along the parade route. Organizers recommend people with disabilities arrive around 7 a.m. to secure a prime spot up front on the sidewalk or along a street opening.

Where is the performance area?

The performance area will be staged at the intersection of South Tryon Street and Levine Avenue of the Arts.

Can I buy front-row seating tickets for the performance area?

Yes, you can purchase tickets via the mobile app or online.

What are the street closures?

▪ Levine Avenue of the Arts between South Tryon and Church streets; closed between 10 a.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. Thursday.

▪ S. Tryon Street, between MLK and Stonewall streets; closed between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. Thursday.

▪ Tryon Street bridge, between Morehead and Stonewall streets; closed between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 2 p.m. Thursday.

▪ Tryon Street, from Third to Ninth streets; closed between 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday.

▪ Hill, Stonewall and Phifer streets; closed starting at 6 a.m. Thursday. Hill and Stonewall streets will reopen at 2 p.m. Thursday while Phifer Street will reopen at 6 p.m. Thursday.