Williamsburg Christmas Parade kicks off the holiday season

hbridges@vagazette.com

Sirens signaling the start of the 51st annual Williamsburg Christmas Parade drew exclamations of excitement from the gathered crowd.

And the sirens began just minutes after the parade's projected start time at 8 a.m., Saturday. It seems the parade is settling into its new route, which changed last year.

Megan Keister camped out along Richmond Road with her sons Matthew, 5, and Logan, 1. It was their first time at the Williamsburg parade - Keister said they moved to Toano from Norfolk.

Matthew was most excited for the parade's finale: a sighting of Santa himself.

"I just like to see their faces," Keister said.

The Keister family was one of many to pack the sides of the parade route - sitting on or wrapped in blankets, clutching hot chocolate or coffee.

The 100 parade units, from marching bands to volunteer groups, offered creative, often elaborate, interpretations of the parade's 2016 theme: The Night Before Christmas.

"We come every year," said Williamsburg resident Scott Walker, there with his daughter Charlotte, 5.

It was a family event for the pair, who braved the chilly, though sunny morning to see Walker's son, Charlotte's brother, march with the Williamsburg James City Jaguars football team.

But Walker also sees the parade as a way to bring to the community together.

"It's a really nice community event," he said.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

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