by: Sarah Rosario Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Eyewitness News has learned the future of the Queen City's Thanksgiving parade could be in jeopardy if organizers don't find a new sponsor. A
representative spokesman or spokeswoman preferred with the Carrousel Parade says retail giant Belk told them it wasn't weren't renewing its sponsorship next year.
The Thanksgiving Day parade has been a staple in Charlotte's community for 65 years. Streets are typically filled with marching bands, balloons, floats and holiday cheer, but next year they could be empty.
A Carrousel Parade representative wouldn't speak to us on camera today but told Eyewitness News Belk notified organizers over the summer. The
representative said the company never gave a reason why. We made several attempts to find out by calling Belk and stopping by their Charlotte headquarters. Our requests weren't answered by news time.
People we spoke to said the Thanksgiving parade is an event they look forward to every year.
"I would be very disappointed. I have a
7-year-old, and that's definitely something I'd want to bring her to," said Felicia Rutty.
According to Carrousel's website, the parade was originally held Uptown to attract holiday shoppers. Carrousel Parade wouldn't say how much money Belk contributes, but as part of the parade. Carrousel offers scholarships to students from 60 high schools.
With Belk pulling out, the lack of funding could leave students without scholarships. In addition to several grant opportunities, the Carrousel Scholarship Fund gives students the opportunity to win five scholarships ranging from $700 to $3,000.
The representative for Carrousel Parade said they're grateful for Belk's support through the years and said they're now looking for a new sponsor.
This year's Thanksgiving Day parade is still on. The parade is scheduled to take place on Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. It will start at 10th and North Tryon streets and end at the Levine Center for the Arts at South Tryon Street.