Photos: The Sights of the 2016 Raleigh Christmas Parade

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The weather on Saturday in Raleigh did not seem willing to admit that Christmas was coming.

With highs in the upper 70s, bright skies, and a whiff of smoke lingering in the air from wildfires to the west, it felt more like a late-summer or early-fall beauty. Still, thousands sporting seasonal T-shirts and uncomfortably warm sweaters lined the sidewalks from St. Mary’s on Hillsborough Street to the performing arts center at the end of Fayetteville Street. At times, the throngs were so thick that the sidewalks were impassable. It was as if, after months of national turmoil and doubt, people just wanted to see something that made them smile, no matter how much they sweat in their sweater.

Photographer Willa Stein roamed the streets and dodged the floats to capture these images of the seventy-second WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade.

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Patiently awaiting the parade

 

Santa's ninth reindeer

Santa’s ninth reindeer

 

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Mayor Nancy McFarlane passes through Raleigh

 

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This year’s parade featured more bands than in previous years

 

Totally owning it

Totally owning it

 

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Clowning the route

 

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Shrek, an annual parade hit

 

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A little member of the Helping Hand Marching Band

 

A whirl of colors

A whirl of colors

 

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Hold ‘er steady

 

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The choral group Oakwood Waits

 

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Gorgeous old tractors, making the turn down Fayetteville Street

 

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