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Fayetteville Christmas parade adds safety measures after Raleigh fatality

Dec. 3 procession may take longer than usual, organizers say


The Fayetteville Rotary Christmas Parade will run a little longer than usual this year because of safety measures prompted by a fatal accident in Raleigh, parade organizers say.

The parade, organized by the Rotary Club of Fayetteville since 1999, will return to downtown Fayetteville on Dec. 3. It will start at 10 a.m. at Liberty Point on Person Street and travel around the Market House, then continue along Hay Street toward the Amtrak Railroad Station, according to organizers.

Brandon Price, president of the Rotary Club and co-chairman of the parade, said the parade will have more than 70 entries.

“We stop at about 100, which makes it about a two-hour parade,” Price said.

But Price expects the parade to take a little longer this year because of safety measures that organizers put in place as a result of the recent fatal accident at the Raleigh Christmas Parade. An 11-year-old girl who was in the parade was killed when a pickup truck’s brakes failed and the vehicle struck her.

“We’re in the process of implementing a new strategy,” Price said. “We’re still evaluating what happened.”

Organizers are working with city officials and the Fayetteville Police Department to come up with more detailed plans.

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The safety measures include switching the order of parade participants.

“People (in vehicles) behind walking groups will be veterans who have done this before,” he said. “There will be extra space between vehicles to increase reaction time, making the parade a little slower.”

Price said he is not concerned about city vehicles that will be in the parade but added that private vehicles must be “road-worthy.”

“That means they must have the latest inspection and have permission to be on the road,” he said

It would “be really tough” for organizers to inspect every vehicle in the parade, he said.

“We’re not mechanics,” he said.

Therefore, organizers will rely on state-mandated inspections.

“We have a really good parade committee, and we’ve been in communication every day since the Raleigh incident,” Price said. “Our goal is to have a successful parade without any hiccups.”

The parade entries include bands, dance groups, motorcycles, and horses. Amy Navejas, a Rotarian and CEO of Cumberland County United Way, will be the grand marshal.

Children anticipating Santa Claus won’t be disappointed.

“The Fayetteville Rotary is proud to present one of the largest family-friendly events in Fayetteville.  We are excited to bring the community and families together for a holiday celebration in downtown Fayetteville, and to be able to do so in grand style, post-pandemic,” Price said in a news release.

ABC11 TV will broadcast the parade live on Dec. 3, according to the news release. Parade entries will be accepted through Monday at www.rotarychristmasparade.com.

Fayetteville, parade, Christmas, public safety