Roanoke Christmas parade takes attendance hit due to rainy weather

About 400 people showed up to the event, usually attended by thousands

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Despite Friday night's rain and cold, the annual Roanoke City Christmas Parade made its way through downtown. The weather did keep a lot of people home, but some still braved the dreary conditions to enjoy a festive night.

The Roanoke Christmas Parade hosted by WSLS' own Natalie Faunce and Brittany Flowers rolled through downtown Roanoke Friday night. Cold rain fell down the whole time causing about half the floats to back out.

 "The one thing that we really can't control with events is the weather, so unfortunately it was a little rainy but we still had a parade and had some people come out and enjoy it so the show must go on," Downtown Roanoke Inc. spokeswoman Jaime Clark said.

About 500 people braved the cold and a decided a little rain wasn't going to stop them. Staying dry was the name of the game, whether it was from behind a storefront window at Davidson's or under the cover of the market building awning.

"We live on Smith Mountain Lake, we come up here every year at least one of the nights and enjoy the festivities," Winston Edwards said while watching the floats go by. "We ski, we get out we do outdoor stuff so rain doesn't really bother me."

The annual Christmas parade is part of Dickens of a Christmas, the three weekend downtown series that businesses rely heavily upon. Downtown's newest brewery, Three Notch'd, was excited to be apart of its first one.

"This weekend has been a little bit slower than we anticipated, it's still been great we still had a good time, but the rain has definitely put a little bit of a damper on business," Three Notch'd assistant general manager Laura Barton said.

With rain being in the forecast for days, many asked why not reschedule. Organizers said it's jut not that easy to do.

"The logistics involved in organizing a parade there's a lot more that goes into it than people can really imagine, so it was really cancel it or go on with it which we decided to go ahead and do," Clark said.

One final weekend of Dickens remains and Downtown Roanoke Inc. is hoping to bounce back. And they're already doing their no-rain dance for next year.

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