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People come to aid of Fredericksburg Christmas parade

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Archived footage from last year’s Jaycees Christmas Parade in downtown Fredericksburg.

Hundreds of people responded when the Fredericksburg Jaycees expressed fear for this year’s Christmas Parade because of a shortage of volunteers.

Event co-chairwoman Jennifer Adkins said she cried when she opened her email Tuesday morning and saw more than 300 messages from people offering to help with the Dec. 7 event. By the afternoon, she had more than 400 offers.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said. “It’s been a good showing of the holiday spirit.”

The number of offers continued growing throughout the day.

Karen Hedelt, Fredericksburg’s director of economic development and tourism, said she was grateful to the community for its offers of help.

“It shows that this holiday tradition is honored and, when asked, our citizens step up to fill a need,” Hedelt said. “I’m not surprised at such a response, just pleased.”

Fredericksburg City Manager Bev Cameron instituted new safety standards for this year’s Christmas parade after hearing of tragedies at parades elsewhere in the country.

As part of that, city officials created a parade checklist that spells out the responsibilities of the Jaycees, the Fredericksburg Police Department, the city Public Works Department, and its Parks and Recreation Department.

The Jaycees have until Monday to provide the city with a list of 35 volunteers who will serve as parade marshals. At the start of this week, Adkins had only 15.

But news of the situation posted to Fredericksburg.com and published in The Free Lance–Star led to a large community response.

Adkins will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Kobler Hall at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church for prospective volunteers to provide them additional information.

The parade, which draws thousands of spectators and this year has nearly 100 entries, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. The Saturday event lasts about two hours and travels through downtown Fredericksburg along Caroline, Amelia and Princess Anne streets.

Volunteers will receive training on the day of the parade and will be asked to serve from 2 to 8 p.m. They will receive free food and beverages after the parade, courtesy of the Jaycees.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, Adkins said. Anyone 16 or 17 must serve with an adult. Anyone 18 or over can serve alone.

Adkins said volunteers will have the joy of knowing their work is benefiting needy children in the community. Money raised through the parade will be used to take about 25 local children shopping for Christmas and provide them with a gift card for food.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972

pgould@freelancestar.com

WANT TO HELP?

People interested in volunteering may contact Fredericksburg Jaycees Christmas Parade co-chairwoman Jennifer Adkins via email: jen.t.adkins@gmail.com.Volunteers will be asked to attend a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at in Kobler Hall at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church to review details. Volunteers may park in the Charlotte Street lot and use that entrance.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. Anyone 16 or 17 must serve with an adult. Anyone 18 or over can serve alone.

The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. It travels through downtown Fredericksburg.

 

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