The rain and cold could not dampen the fun at the 2nd Annual WRAL Winter Wonderland on the campus of St. Mary’s School in Raleigh on Saturday, November 23, 2019. Crowds gathered early to kick off the holiday season with the post-Raleigh Christmas Parade event.
“Some folks lined up before 10am to make sure they were able to get their sledding, snow globing and Santa time in before the rain started,” said WRAL-TV Brand Manager Heather Gray.
She continued, “We saw hundreds of visitors on what was a bigger ‘wonderland’ footprint this year. We planned for double the number of activities and that paid off—when the rain started picking up, families were able to move under the tent to ‘create their own ornament’ or pick up coloring pages.”
WRAL-TV had several very special guests on hand. Jerry Springer, of the FOX 50 show Judge Jerry, greeted fans and signed autographs. And Santa and Mrs. Claus posed for photos and visited with all the boys and girls both young and old.
The WRAL Winter Wonderland event serves as a holiday gift for the community from Capitol Broadcasting, a way to extend the celebratory day after the station’s live coverage of the Raleigh Christmas Parade.
WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Renee Chou served as co-host of the parade broadcast with her morning news partner WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Jeff Hogan.
“46 years of the WRAL live broadcast and it has never rained during a Christmas Parade until…. today,” she posted after the parade. “So this will go down in the history books! Three hours of commercial-free, live coverage with the BEST team around went by quickly. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!”
Chou and a full line-up of WRAL talent spent time with viewers at the Winter Wonderland.
“Despite it being cold and rainy, we had a great time!” said WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Debra Morgan.
The WRAL Weather Team played a large role in the success of the event.
“Thanks to the WRAL meteorologists forecasting we were well prepared with rain contingencies and knew what to expect,” said Gray. “Our hearty, rugged cross-divisional/departmental volunteers stuck with us through the weather and helped many families kick off their holiday season.”
WRAL-TV Vice President & General Manager Joel Davis agreed with Gray’s sentiments about the WRAL team.
“This is a huge lift by the entire team to pull off an event of this magnitude,” said Davis. “We couldn’t pull off the parade or Winter Wonderland without such great employees. It was terrific to see the viewers respond by making the parade coverage on WRAL the highest rated program of the entire day on any station.”
Happy Holidays from Capitol Broadcasting!
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Heather Gray, Debra Morgan, Ken Smith, Randy Mews, NMG’s Kathy Hanrahan, Laura Worthington & WRAL-FM’s Jason Newton for these capcom photos.