By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
One of our favorite holiday events in Fairfax County is the annual holiday parade in Reston. This is one of Northern Virginia’s largest and most beloved parades. Reston’s Holiday Parade, which takes place the day after Thanksgiving, is a big and festive event. We love this event and if we are not visiting family or in New York for the Macy’s parade (something we’ve done a couple of times), you can bet we will be in Reston on that Friday!
The one-hour, half-mile parade along Market Street in the Reston Town Center features Macy’s-style giant balloons, antique cars, musicians and marching bands, dancers, and community groups, all leading up to the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on a horse-drawn carriage. Get to the parade early so you can get a good spot and receive one of the many giant jingle bells they hand out to help you cheer on participants (these are nice keepsake items). The parade begins at 11 am — see the parade route here.
The parade celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, and this year the theme is “Home Sweet Home.” The parade is part of a fun day of fun that kicks off the holiday season and also includes the Gingerbread Man Mile run for kids, ice-skating in the pavilion, and horse-drawn carriage rides. The Gingerbread Man Mile is a 1-mile loop “fun run” around Reston Town Center, starting at 8 am. Registration is just $8 and proceeds go to charity. The untimed run groups children by age: 8-8:15 am for ages 12-14, 8:15-8:30 am for ages 10-11, 8:30-8:45 am for ages 8-9, 8:45-9 am for ages 6-7, 9-9:15 am ages 4-5 (first loop only), and 9:15-9:30 for the Tot Trot (two blocks).
At night, the fun continues with a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrive at Fountain Square to light the Christmas tree and lead the community in a sing-along. The fun begins with a music and dance show at 5 pm, followed by the tree lighting and sing-along (free song books are available) at 6 pm.
Back to the parade: get a peek at the sort of groups and balloons you will see by checking out some more of our photos of previous Reston Holiday Parades below!
All photos (c) P. Hall