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Plan ahead for downtown parade

RELATED: Parade map and planning tips | Christmas Parade Etiquette (yes, really)

Video: Last year’s Christmas parade

RELATED: View the COMPLETE GUIDE to Fredericksburg area holiday happenings

BY ROBYN SIDERSKY

 If Thanksgiving didn’t put you in a holiday mood, the Christmas Parade sponsored by the Fredericksburg Jaycees this weekend is sure to do the trick.

This year, the organization is asking everyone to embrace the Christmas spirit—that is, be courteous to fellow parade-goers and the businesses along the parade route.

 The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, but well before then, downtown Fredericksburg begins preparing.

PARKING DO’S AND DON’TS

Parking will be prohibited on the streets along the parade route, and the police department will start removing parked vehicles at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

 Parking for the public will be allowed in the parking garage and in the municipal parking lots on Sophia Street, however, after 4 p.m., the only way to access these lots will be from Lafayette Boulevard.

Starting at 4 p.m., Sophia Street will be blocked to vehicular traffic coming from the direction of William Street, and City Dock will be reserved for parade staging and will not be available to the public.

On-street parking is available outside of the parade route area, but visitors are encouraged to pay attention to signs indicating parking restrictions.

 Visitors should not park in private lots (they will be towed) and should be careful not to block driveways or alleys.

Drivers who do not intend to go downtown during the parade should detour around the area by using U.S. 1 or the Blue and Gray Parkway.

THE BEST VIEWING SPOTS

The parade begins at the intersection of Caroline and Charlotte streets.

It heads toward Amelia Street, where it takes a left and then turns left again onto Princess Anne Street. The parade continues for another five blocks and stops at Wolfe Street.

Because of the construction of the new courthouse at Charlotte and Princess Anne streets, the float judges will sit between George and Hanover streets this year.

 The best places to watch the parade are Caroline Street after the Visitor Center and anywhere on Princess Anne Street, said Jen Adkins, the co-chair for the parade.

 She said the area around Caroline and Amelia is not the best viewing spot, because of the hill.

 Another good spot is near the judges, because each float stops and gives a 15- to 30-second performance.

 Sidewalks are the best, and it’s better to stay off private property and out of the streets.

This year’s parade theme is “Once Upon a Christmas.” Spectators will get to see  storybook- and fairy-tale-inspired displays.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

rsidersky@freelancestar.com

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