WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Organizers say it drew over 12,000 parade goers to downtown Wilmington but some business owners say the Martin Luther King parade hurt their business.
“Every step is a process and ever process is a learning process so I think this was a growing pain,” said John Hinnant of Wilmington Downtown Incorporated.
A growing pain that brought businessmen and bikers together inside the confines of city hall to discuss ways to improve the Martin Luther King Parade.
After years on Castle Street the parade route was moved to Front Street, which provided mixed results.
“It’s a very passionate thing,” said deputy city manager Tony Caudle. “It’s something that has been very well attended on Castle Street for a very long time. Moving it to a new location obviously a lot of folks didn’t know it was going to happen. So I think it’s very important to make sure that we reach out into the community and make sure we channel some of that passion back into constructive criticism.”
That constructive criticism was written down and discussed amongst the attendees, many of whom say despite a few negatives, holding the parade downtown was overall a positive experience.
“Having walked in the parade on Castle Street and having attended the parade on Castle Street I knew that this was an opportunity to really grow the event into a true community event with a diverse audience with more kids and more families and that happened and to that end it was a success,” said John Hinnant.
“I think it was a net positive,” said Tony Caudle. “Some of the business folks are concerned that they didn’t get as much business out of it that they would like to see. There is always that concern when you block off streets but you know I think it’s a net positive anytime you can 12,000 people downtown on a Monday that aren’t in office buildings, I think that’s a good thing.”