Family, togetherness, tradition — that’s what Harrisonburg’s annual Holiday Parade is all about.
As the temperature dropped and the sun went down, families and friends hunkered down on the sidewalks from the Rockingham County Office Building clear to City Hall to watch the parade.
Megan Summers, Greg Will, Carter Summers and Adrien Cline all snuggled together as they watched the floats and bands march by.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid,” Megan Summers said. “I want this to be something I can continue to do for my kids.”
Her kids, Carter and Adriene, have been to the parade before, though Carter doesn’t remember it.
Carter, 2, waved at all the people involved in the parade and gazed at the lights that flashed before her eyes.
Adrien, 7, has been coming since she was 2 and hopes to continue attending the parade.
“I like watching the Girl Scouts waving their flags,” she said. “I don’t want to be a Girl Scout, though.”
Will, who has been coming to the parade for about 10 years, said he has always enjoyed the parade, but loves being able to spend it with his kids.
“I love being able to see their excitement throughout the parade. These are great memories I will have for years to come,” he said.
Connor Fielding, Carol Anderson, Rob Anderson and Ida Anderson were also excited to spend time together watching the parade.
It was their second time attending the event.
“It was so good the first time that I wanted to come back,” Carol Anderson said. “I love watching the Marching Dukes and the high school marching bands. They are always so enjoyable.”
But, she said, the most rewarding part of the parade is being able to spend it with her family.
“This is a tradition I’d like to make — it’s great being able to put everything else aside and just enjoy a fun night out with the family and welcoming in the holidays,” she said. “I like that the city and university can come together and have fun.”
Susan Rogers has been attending the parade for nearly 30 years and brought her family, Joellen Firor, Zachery Arvaugh and Kayden Ryan for the first time.
“It’s fun to hear all the bands and watch all the floats,” Rogers said. “This is all about the excitement of Christmas and is a good way to start off the holidays.”
Ryan and Arvaugh don’t recall ever being at a parade, but plan to go to many more after seeing the excitement it brings.
“I’d definitely like to do this again. I like all the lights,” Arvaugh said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Ryan said Christmas is his favorite holiday and he was happy to spend time with his family watching the parade.
“This is a really fun event and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” he said.