The Haley Toyota's City of Roanoke Christmas Parade is expected to attract thousands of people to downtown Roanoke. Economic development leaders hope this weekend events provide a boost to the local economy.
Tina Workman, President of Downtown Roanoke Inc. estimates 10,000 to 15,000 people to attend this year's Christmas parade. The annual tradition brings more families downtown which is good for local businesses. The parade route goes past Market Square. Workman says the event is a chance to highlight some of the unique stores the city has to offer. The parade weekend typically attracts more vendors who sell holiday items like candles and wreaths. When the weather is nice, the annual tradition becomes an economic driver for downtown businesses.
"I probably make 50% more sales this weekend than I would on a normal weekend" said Glen Wraper, owner of Quality Wreaths.
Workman said Downtown Roanoke Inc. hopes to keep the holiday shopping spirit going through the new year. After this weekend's parade and the Dickens of a Christmas events end, organizers plan to have downtown events take place the second Thursday of every month from January through March.