Will icy blast wait for parades to pass?
PARADE TIMES: Here’s our complete roundup of area holiday parades
As Fredericksburg Jaycees Christmas Parade co-chair Jennifer Adkins scurries about addressing last-minute preparations for Saturday’s downtown event, she’s seeing a bright spot on the horizon.
Forecasts as of Thursday evening predicted precipitation should take a break Saturday morning and could hold until early Sunday.
That would mean the downtown Christmas parade, which starts at 5:30 p.m., could be cold but dry.
Temperatures aren’t expected to get above the upper 40s on Saturday, and by parade time, with the sun down, the mercury will dropping.
Temperatures are expected to fall into the 30s Saturday night and hit freezing before sunrise on Sunday, according to information from Accuweather and the National Weather Service.
Sunday could be cold and messy. The National Weather Service is calling for a 90 percent chance of precipitation, including snow, freezing rain and sleet, with a high of 34 degrees.
As a result, Orange County announced on Thursday that it was postponing its parade, originally scheduled for this Sunday. Organizers are pushing it back a week to Dec. 15 at 4:30 p.m.
On Sunday, Spotsylvania is scheduled to hold its Courthouse Christmas Luminary at 4:45 p.m. on the lawn of the old courthouse. Candles are to be lit at dusk as area choirs sing. Cancellation notices would go out through the Parks and Rec cancellation line at 540/898-8546, through the Spotsyalert system, and via Facebook, radio and Fredericksburg.com announcements.
Sunday morning, up to 1,200 runners will be racing through Fredericksburg for the VA Runner Blue & Gray 5K and Half Marathon, regardless of the weather.
As a result, one lane of westbound Cowan Boulevard will be closed to traffic between Hospital Drive and Central Park from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Subdivisions north of Cowan Boulevard will be most affected between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Runners will travel along the Heritage Trail and Kenmore Canal Path but also will be seen on Caroline Street, Princess Anne Street, Fall Hill Avenue and Washington Avenue.
Spotsylvania County’s “parade of trees” travels along Courthouse Road starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. About 3,000 people are expected to watch 78 entries.
Colonial Beach’s parade kicks off at 1:15 p.m. and holds its Christmas tree lighting at 5 p.m. followed by a lighted boat parade.
Fredericksburg’s parade is the largest in the region, with thousands expected to attend and nearly 100 floats expected. Hundreds of marching band members will be part of the procession, including a combined band from Spotsylvania County’s high schools.
Street closures start at 3:30 p.m., and no parking is allowed in the parade area as of 3 p.m. That includes the streets bounded by the train station, Sophia Street, Lewis Street and Prince Edward.
And no one wants to be a “Scrooge,” but towing will be enforced, if necessary, organizer Adkins said.
The parade travels through downtown along Caroline, Amelia and Princess Anne streets. The city parade lasts about two hours and streets should reopen by 9 p.m.
This year’s theme is “Christmas Paws,” so parade watchers can expect a fair number of dogs but no exotic animals, Adkins said. They can also expect to see some groups with horses.
Adkins said the Jaycees chose this year’s theme in an effort to do something different from the traditional storybook or tropical themes.
“I’m excited to see what people are doing with this,” she said.
CHANGES TO OBSERVE
People attending Fredericksburg’s parade can expect to find “pedestrian traffic control” volunteers in orange vests on downtown street corners this year.
They will be working to keep people on the sidewalks and off the streets as part of beefed-up safety measures instituted by City Manager Bev Cameron.
Despite getting hundreds of responses to a plea for volunteers, the Jaycees have only 30 additional people donating their time to help, Adkins said. She stressed the importance of people staying back at the intersections of Caroline and Amelia and Princess Anne streets and Amelia because some floats will be on tractor–trailers, which make wide turns.
She said the city approved the larger-size vehicle for this year but will be watching to see how it goes.
Courthouse Road, Brock Road and Old Battlefield Boulevard are closed to through traffic from 12:45 to 3 p.m. Saturday for the county’s parade, which starts at 1 p.m. and is expected to conclude by 3:30 p.m. The closures on Courthouse Road stretch from Massaponax Church Road to the Courthouse Road Bypass/Lake Anna Parkway.
The following streets in downtown Fredericksburg are closed from 3:30 to 9 p.m. for Saturday’s Jaycees Christmas Parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m. No parking is allowed along the parade 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 city street closures, go to fredericksburgva.gov.
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972