You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Staunton's Christmas parade
There's something going on down in the street. This could be serious.
A mob is massing in the darkness -- no one seems to be armed.
We've just been informed by the half-frozen spectators -- it's the annual Christmas parade. It's only 2 December, who could have guessed that.
First up, the marching band of the Shelburne Middle School sixth grade. (They're not bad at all, even in the cold.)
The American Shakespeare Centre has brought its carriage.
A touch of class, perhaps. We're told that the date of the various parades is worked out with a range of towns so that everybody's marching bands can show up at all of them.
It's Jesus's birthday, yay! But we mustn't forget Woodrow Wilson's birthday, on 28 December, in celebration of which his Presidential Library up the street is offering free admission for that day.
It may be Jesus's birthday, but a huge American Flag never goes amiss anyway.
The Legacy on North Augusta, a local assisted-living establishment, has brought along its own team of Christmas parade fans.
A nativity scene on a flat bed truck ('There's no room in the inn, but we've got a roomy truck out the back, if that will suit'.)
Troops of volunteers or city staff or whomever are parading alongside the parade handing out bucketsful of candies for the enthusiastic children on the sidewalks, most of whom have gratefully brought their own tote bags.
Possibly another nativity scene, though it's not too clear, hosted by the local troop of Trail Life USA, 'a Christ-centered, boy-focused mentoring program that engages boys in service & outdoor adventure to develop godly & courageous leaders'. (But do they offer a merit badge for tying knots?)
Ah, here's the one we've been waiting for; it's the Mary Baldwin University . . .
. . . Fighting Squirrel. (No kidding -- their teams are the Fighting Squirrels.) (Staunton's Grace Christian School's teams are 'The Warriors'. The United Christian Academy's teams are 'The Crusaders'.)
A seasonally appropriate neon statement
Some of the public transport in Staunton, the 'BRITE Bus Transit Service' (we're convinced that that's a Hometown Trolley made in Crandon, Wisconsin, but haven't verified that yet)
Merry Christmas from South Augusta (we're on N. Augusta St., so we're neighbors?)
Flag wavers from the Wilson Memorial High School in nearby Fishersville
A lit-up marching band, probably also from Wilson Memorial
This, judging from the banner, will be a treat. It's the Mountain Heritage Cloggers.
With their own 'sag wagon' (a term that cyclists will recognize)
Here come the clog dancers -- Appalachian Clog Dancing is a recognized art form, and these folks, despite the cold, are good at it. (The Shenandoah Cloggers passed by earlier, but we missed them.)
With a bunch of clog dancers of the future
This is the best group in the parade, some would venture to say.
A festive entry in the parade . . .
. . . with a seasonally appropriate neon-topped birthday cake. ('Put that squalid manger behind you; come with us, and party.')
Since Christmas is actually 23 days in the future, this colorful vehicle may be a conversation piece round town for quite a while.
The Lingo 'Gig Speed' Networks advertise their speediness with a farm vehicle.
More clog dancers?
No such luck [it's 'Grand Master Dong's Martial Arts']
A familiar and welcome sight, and all lit up, too
It's the Peruvian Charboiled Chicken man (and family) ['Gonzo's Pollo'].
Walmart has never been one to let a good advertising opportunity slip by.
Happily, the truck made it round our corner, but the next one, down onto Market Street, will be more challenging.
Festive volunteers forcing candies into the children's hands
A medical transport vehicle, from Priority Patient Transport
And what would a Staunton parade be without the participation of the Frontier Culture Museum, with an authentic log cabin replica festooned with strings and strings of electric lights.
There were actually 105 participating organizations this year, with no. 1 the Staunton Police and Sheriff's Office and no. 105 Santa, right behind Shenandoah Dermatology. The Frontier Culture Museum was no. 81 but for various reasons having to do with the temperature we were unable to stay to the end.
Next stop: Augusta Springs Wetland walk, and more Staunton architecture