“I’ve been associated with the parade as an organizer, chairman and marshal for more than 30 years and this was the biggest turnout I’ve even seen,” Ratcliffe said.
Ratcliffe attributed the record turnout to the warm weather and patriotic theme of the parade, which featured firefighters and police officers from New York City.
“It was a tremendous sight traveling along the parade route and seeing all the flags waving and people clapping. It was a wonderful experience,” said Ratcliffe, noting that at spots on the parade route the onlookers were three and four rows deep.
He and his wife, Judy, rode in a 1957 Chevrolet convertible driven by Wayne Broadwater who has had the honor of carrying the grand marshal in the parade for years.
The winners of the 56th parade were:
Sponsor/Commercial Floats: Greater Manassas Baseball League, first; All Saints Catholic School, second; and St. Thomas Methodist Church, third.
Business/Commercial Floats: Re/Max Olympic, first; Babydumplins Day Care, second; and Cardinal Bank, third.
Clubs/Organizations Floats: Park West Lions Club, first. There were no other entries.
Youth Floats: Manassas City Police (DARE), first; Lighthouse Assembly of God Youth, second; and First Baptist Church, third.
Church Floats: Nativity of Our Lord Orthodox Church, first; St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, second; and Yeshua Church of God in Christ, third.
Majorette Groups: Gaines-ville District Volunteer Fire Dept. Majorettes, first; The Marching Gems, second; and Karousel, third.
Marching Groups: Weems Elementary Safe Patrol and SCA, first; Scouting at Loch Lomond Elementary School, second; and Osbourn Park High School National Junior ROTC, third.
Bands: Randolph Macon Academy, first; Osbourn Park High School, second; and Brentsville District, third.
Dance Groups: Showcase School of Dance, first; Spotlight Dance Co., second; and Parkside Middle School Dance Team, third.
Animals: Nokesville Horse Society, first; Bill Huggins Mule Team, second; and Century Manor Farm, third.
Miscellaneous: RAH Cheerleaders, first; The Supercycles, second; and Kewl Trax Jump Rope Team, third.
Honorary marshals at the parade were members of the New York City firefighters and police officers.
A commendation was read to them by Manassas Mayor Marvin Gillum prior to the start of the parade.
Staff writer Bennie Scarton Jr. can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 125.