What takes up over two miles of Broad Street, causes a ruckus with marching bands and baton-twirlers, mixes a giant Rudolph and a huge fruit cake, closes a lot of street, is MC’d by The Grinch, and yet still attracts over 100,000 spectators a year?
Grand Marshaled by The Grinch, our favorite Who-villain, and predictably happening on a beautiful Saturday morning, is the 29th annual Christmas Parade sponsored by Dominion. Be ready for a lot of cheering Christmas fans and enthusiastic Shriners! Santa will be there at the end of the line to double check everyone’s good behavior.
Saturday, December 1, 2012; 10:00 AM.
Show up at the Science Museum around 8:45 AM where Offering will play some holiday music to get everyone in the parade-watching, Christmas-loving, cold-weather-enduring spirit. Not a music fan? The we recommended you show up around 9:30 AM, and if you REALLY like sleeping in, come out around 10:30 or 11:00 and camp out at the end of the parade route (see map).
The parade departs from the Science Museum on W. Broad Street and continues east to 7th Street, at the Coliseum.
Best places for viewing: The starting gate at the Science Museum. You can park in the Lowe’s parking lot near the Siegel Center and watch from there.
- Lowe’s parking lot (1640 W. Broad Street)
- Kroger parking lot (901 N. Lombardy Street)
- Parallel parkers can head over to Grace Street, Franklin Avenue, and further into the neighborhood streets. If you want to try the other side of Broad, there’s always W. Clay Street and E. Marshall Street.
There will be parking restrictions enforced in the area:
- Leigh Street between Hermitage and Myers streets
- E. Leigh Street between 4th and 9th streets
- Broad Street westbound between 8th and Terminal Place
- Broad Street eastbound between 2nd and 5th streets
- Broad Street eastbound between Davis and Strawberry streets
- Grace Street between Strawberry and Davis streets
- Strawberry Street between W. Broad and Grace streets
- Davis Street between W. Broad and Grace streets
- DMV Drive
- Seventh Street between E. Broad and Jackson streets
- Marshall Street between 3rd and 7th streets
- The eastbound and westbound lanes of W. Broad Street will be closed to traffic between N. Davis Avenue and Strawberry Street from 5:00 AM – 2:00 PM
- The westbound lanes of W. Broad Street will be closed to traffic from Robinson Street to 8th Street from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
- DMV Drive from Leigh Street to W. Broad Street will be closed from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
- Leigh Street from Hermitage Road to N. Boulevard will be closed from 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM
- Seventh Street from E. Broad Street to Jackson Street will be closed from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
It’s looking like nice parade-day weather: high of 61 with a 10% chance of rain. Only partly cloudy, so you can look up at the splendor of the balloons.
What to watch for:
- Highlights of this year’s line up include The Grinch as the Grand Marshal, ‘The Game Guy’ from Virginia State Lottery, a Bolivian Dance group, the Wells Fargo stagecoach, the Harlem Globetrotters, a fruitcake balloon by Science Museum to promote their fruitcake science night, and much much more!
- Various street vendors selling plastic shiny things and treats.
- Nutzy’s Funn Runn–a race that has participants start at the Diamond and run the parade route from 7:30 – 9:00 AM.
Working up an appetite
Rejuvenate after the parade and grab a bite to eat at these restaurants. Delicious food = more energy = ability to continue the weekend holiday fun!
- Strawberry Street Cafe
- Kuba Kuba
- FW Sullivans
- Sidewalk Cafe
- Joe’s Inn
- 3 Monkey’s
- Sticky Rice
- Dixie Donuts
Photo by John Murden