Graduations set to bring crowds to Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Downtown Raleigh is gearing up for the first of many graduations for Wake County schools Friday. Over the next six days you can expect heavy traffic both on the roads and in businesses.

Singer/songwriter Phil Walters plays his tunes on the streets of downtown Raleigh a couple times a week. He’s been tickling the keys in his spot down the street from the Convention Center for several graduation seasons.

“It’s just awesome. You hear all the students coming by and all the families. And even though it may be a couple blocks from where I am, when they come out cheering I can hear it all the way from here,” said Walters.

He knows it brings more people, more traffic and sometimes more chaos, but there are also more ears for him to sing to.

“They’ll sing some of the cover songs I’ll do and then they don’t know the original stuff, but by the time I get done they’re singing the chorus of some of my original songs as well,” said Walters.

Restaurants fare well from the rush too.

“It’s crucial to business,” said Samuel Young, Manager of Living Kitchen.

The restaurant has been open less than a year, but managers already know they get more customers when events are nearby.

“We definitely stock up for it, prepare for it, staff for it,” said Young.

With three graduations at the Convention Center Saturday and four Sunday, many families will be looking for a nice celebratory meal.

“We’re excited. Bring them in,” said Young.

But if you’re headed downtown this weekend for the food truck rodeo or a concert at Red Hat Amphitheater, be prepared for the throngs of excited teens taking over the area.

Wake County Schools are asking families to carpool as much as possible. Also, make sure you leave early and allot plenty of time for parking if you’re heading to a graduation, or just a nice evening out.

For a full list of graduations, click here.

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