Holiday cheer warms cold day

Whether it’s shopping on Black Friday at Potomac Mills mall or seeing Santa Claus come by boat on the Occoquan River, people in Prince William County have added one more way to get into the holiday spirit.

Devoted people braved cold weather as cheerleaders, marching bands and local officials marched along Potomac Avenue in the town of Quantico at the annual Christmas parade Sunday.

Prince William County, town of Quantico and Quantico Marine Corps base officials each rode in holiday style. Crowds cheered for local officials as they came down the street riding on the back of Corvettes or driving red motorcycles decorated with red garland.

However, the person who got the most attention was Santa Claus, who rode in on a red Dumfries/Triangle Volunteer Fire Department pickup truck.

“I love to watch the children’s expressions, especially when Santa Claus arrives. That’s my favorite part,” said Nancy English of Stafford.

English also works with the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of hospitals that provides orthopedic and burn care. Shriners mini-trucks drove through the parade followed by mini-cars.

The mini-cars and marching bands were Edna Moore’s favorites. Moore, from Atlanta, was visiting her daughter and grandchildren, who all live in Fredericksburg. Although it was her first year attending the parade, she hopes to come again next year.

After the parade, children rushed over to Bank of America, where Santa Claus was handing out bags of candy and taking photos with the children.

This also provided a shelter with hot chocolate, coffee or cider. Even though she was bundled up in a coat with a fur hat, English said the brisk weather put her in the Christmas mood.

From the sound of bagpipes to the sound of Christmas carols, town officials said attending Quantico’s parade is one way of getting into holiday spirit.

“It’s a lot of fun. You can bring your whole family. And the kids just love this kind of stuff,” said Erin M. Weedon Harting, Quantico town councilwoman.

The parade has been a tradition each year for the town, established in 1917. It used to run on Fridays, but turnout seemed to be higher on Sunday, said Quantico Mayor Mitchel P. Raftelis.

“I’m very happy to be here and wish everybody happy holidays,” he said.

Staff writer Jennifer Brennan can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 123.

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