Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania Christmas parades set for Saturday
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County will continue the tradition of two Christmas parades on the same day this Saturday.
That custom was briefly in limbo, as the Fredericksburg Jaycees worried it wouldn’t have enough volunteers at its parade to meet the city of Fredericksburg’s new requirements.
But after recent publicity about the organization’s need, hundreds of people emailed Jaycees parade co-chairwoman Jennifer Adkins offering to help. That event, held in downtown Fredericksburg, starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Spotsylvania’s 36th annual Christmas parade takes place earlier in the day, from 1 until 4 p.m. It’s business as usual for the event that travels along Courthouse Road, starting at Spotsylvania Middle School, passing through the Courthouse area and ending at Merchants Square. The parade is hosted by the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
For the downtown Fredericksburg parade, however, City Manager Bev Cameron instituted new safety standards after hearing of tragedies at parades elsewhere around the country.
As part of that, city officials created a parade checklist spelling out the responsibilities of the Jaycees, the Fredericksburg Police Department, the city Public Works Department, and its Parks and Recreation Department.
The Jaycees had until Nov. 25 to provide the city with a list of 35 volunteers who will serve as parade marshals. It had just 15 volunteers one week before the deadline, but hundreds offered to help after hearing that the event could potentially be canceled.
Adkins of the Jaycees held a meeting Nov. 21 to tell prospective volunteers what’s required. The next day, the Jaycees notified the city that they would have the 35 people needed to serve as parade marshals, said Fredericksburg Economic Development Director Karen Hedelt.
The city parade draws thousands of spectators and this year has nearly 100 entries. It lasts about two hours, traveling 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 2–8 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.
The Spotsylvania parade, with a budget of $1,350, will be staffed by part-time and full-time Parks and Recreation employees, said Kristen Mastalski, the county’s special events coordinator. Spotsylvania sheriff’s deputies and fire and rescue officials also will be there.
All of the 78 entries will feature uniquely decorated trees as part of the event’s “parade of trees” theme.
County officials expect about 3,000 people to attend.
CITY STREETS CLOSE
Some streets in downtown Fredericksburg will be closed for Saturday’s Jaycees Christmas Parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends by 8 p.m.
The parade travels down Caroline Street from Charlotte to Amelia, turning left onto Amelia and then left again onto Princess Anne Street, ending at the intersection with Wolfe Street.
The following roads will be closed from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. No parking will be allowed along the route starting at 3 p.m.
Sophia Street between William and Wolfe streets.
Caroline Street between Frederick and Amelia streets.
Princess Anne Street between Fauquier Street and Lafayette Boulevard.
Wolfe and Charlotte streets are closed between Prince Edward and Sophia Streets.
Hanover, George, William and Amelia streets are closed between Charles and Sophia streets.
For a map of street closures, go to fredericksburgva.gov.
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972