The 52nd annual Williamsburg Christmas Parade may have changed over the years — altering its route, shortening its length and, this year, allowing no cars to be parked in the parade path — but for nearly 50 years Teresa Randall has been a constant.
Since 1968, Randall, now 56, has viewed the parade from the sidewalk in front of her mother’s home on Richmond Road.
On a chilly yet festive Saturday morning teeming with thousands of people lining city streets, Randall was joined by several members of her family who use the parade as a kickoff to the holiday season.
“We do this every year,” Randall said. “It’s wonderful. We invite all of our friends to come. We get to hang out. We drink hot cocoa after it’s over with and watch the traffic go by. We get to wave to Santa and all of our friends.”
This year’s parade route went down Richmond Road, starting at Brooks Street, winding through Merchants Square onto Henry Street and ending at the corner of Henry and Francis streets.
Randall also was in the parade for 22 years, when it ended, rather than began, near her mother’s home.
Her favorite part of the parade?
“Getting to see everybody, and getting into the spirit of Christmas, and seeing all the different schools and supporting all the local businesses,” Randall said.
Randall said in years past, the parade would start at 9 a.m. instead of 8, and go until noon, and the route would have parked cars along it.
This year, no cars were allowed to park along the parade route for security reasons, according to Major Don Janderup of the Williamsburg Police Department, who was handing out candy to children at the corner of Brooks Street and Richmond Road at the start of the parade.
Still, crowds of people lined the streets, with children and their families bundled up, enjoying the parade, which concluded with the appearance of Santa Claus.
“It always starts the season off for Williamsburg, with the parade and (Sunday’s) Grand Illumination,” Randall said.