The Ashland Olde Time Holiday Parade has become a cherished tradition ushering in the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas season. This year’s parade will take place at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24.
The parade starts at the intersection of Thompson and Snead streets, crosses the tracks in downtown Ashland, and continues along England Street and Henry Street to its finish at John Gandy Elementary School.
With 100 units, including floats, marching groups, drill teams, music, clowns, equestrian teams and groups of antique cars, trucks and tractors, the 2013 parade promises fun for the entire family. At least five units are all new to the Ashland lineup.
This year’s parade Grand Marshals will be Ashland Christian Emergency Services with Al Dickerson and Frank Bentley representing this program. Dickerson has dedicated three decades to this worthwhile organization.
The annual parade is organized by the Kiwanis Club of Ashland and is co-chaired by Rob Wait and Ranny Robertson.
“We have 11 Girl and Boy Scout troops in this year’s parade and more than 200 Patrick Henry YMCA Indian Guides, Indian Princesses and their parents,” Wait said. “We also have the wonderful Patrick Henry High School Marching Band and ROTC units from Patrick Henry and Lee-Davis High Schools.
“We expect a large group of Kiwanis Key Clubs from Patrick Henry, Hanover, Lee-Davis and Glen Allen High Schools, and the new CKI Club from Randolph-Macon College, which will also be represented by the R-MC cheer and dance group,” Wait said.
“There will be multiple vehicle units from the Hampton Corvette Club, the Central Virginia Mustang Club, the Old Dominion Model “A” Ford Club and other car and tractor clubs,” Robertson said.
The Kiwanis Club will have floats for the winners of its elementary school perfect attendance awards and for the Aktion Club co-sponsored by Hanover County Parks and Recreation.
Always popular are the Ronald McDonald float, beauty pageant winners and high school homecoming queens, and the equestrian units. There will be five of these mounted groups and the Rusty Stirrups Riding Club will bring 20 horses and riders.
The leading unit in the parade is the Ashland Police Color Guard followed by the Hanover Sheriff and the Ashland Police Chief. Representatives of the Town Council and County Board of Supervisors can also be seen in the parade.
The Ashland Holiday Parade always ends with Santa Claus riding on a fire truck
The parade moves off at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at South Sneed Street and ends at John M. Gandy Elementary School on Archie Cannon Drive about two hours later. The length of the parade can vary due to the number of freight and passenger trains that travel through Ashland.
Veteran parade goers arrive early to stake out their favorite vantage points.