Windsor Christmas festivities shine amid rain

Published 4:59 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

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Rainy weather had an impact on the Windsor Christmas Parade and Christmas Craft Market on Saturday, Dec. 2, but the resolve of community members was such that organizers and town officials were able to report an outstanding turnout.

A Storybook Christmas was the theme for the town’s annual community parade, which featured a quiet zone this year on Roberts Avenue between Holland Drive and Church Street. Mayor George Stubbs noted that this zone was specifically for the benefit of children who are particularly sensitive to loud music or sirens and flashing lights, allowing them to enjoy the parade as well.

Following the afternoon parade was the Christmas Craft Market at Wesley F. Garris Event Park, which was also the site of the Christmas tree lighting.

Stubbs said he was quite pleased with how the festivities went, and he expressed his gratitude to the participants and attendees.

“I think the parade and the turnout to see the parade was probably one of the largest ones we’ve seen,” he said. 

He noted, with understanding, that some vendors opted not to come out on account of the rain.

“Due to the weather conditions, there weren’t as many of them that showed up as had originally planned to,” Stubbs said. “We want to thank the ones that did come out.”

He said he has heard a lot of compliments about the event, which is being reestablished as an annual presence after disappearing for a couple years due to the global pandemic.

“As I’ve said previously to different ones, we’re still trying to build from (the) COVID shutdown and everything,” Stubbs said.

However, he noted that this is the second consecutive year that rain has accompanied the town’s Christmas parade. 

“I want us to be able to build on it, and I would like for us to be able to do it with sunshine,” he said with a chuckle. “It can be a little cooler, I don’t care about that, but I would like for us to have clear skies.”

Windsor Town Manager William Saunders’ comments on the festivities echoed Stubbs’ thoughts and considerations.

“I would like to thank all of those who helped make the event happen and those who braved the weather to participate and attend,” Saunders said. “We were very happy to see one of the largest turnouts for a parade event in the town of Windsor. The inclement weather impacted the market more than hoped, but we look forward to a bigger and better event next year.”

Town of Windsor Va Events Committee Coordinator Danielle Craig said, “I’m glad the community still came together and the parade was able to happen, as well as the new addition to the market. This is going to be an annual event, we hope — to add the market and the tree lighting to the end of the parade.”

She said the parade started at 4 p.m. and ran for 45 minutes to an hour. There were 28 entries in the parade, and 22 vendors signed up for the market.

Craig also noted that there was a contest, and awards were handed out to participants in the parade.

Brand new to the contest was the People’s Choice Award, and posted on fliers throughout the town was a QR code by which people could vote for their favorites on their phones.

“We had over 1,200 votes, so that was cool for it to be a new thing and everyone to participate,” Craig said.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award was the Isle of Wight Academy Majorettes.

The winner for Best Band was the Windsor Marching Dukes; the Best Float honor went to Community Electric Cooperative; the Best Performance award went to Studio 37, a school of dance located in Windsor and Wakefield; the Best Vehicle accolade went to Windsor Volunteer Fire Department (Entry No. 3); and the Best Snow Plow honor went to “When Pigs Fly” by Smithfield High School.

“We hope to have you all back next year for a better, bigger event,” Craig said to readers, encouraging them to save the date of Dec. 7, 2024.

Craig is also co-owner of Studio 37, which will be holding a Holly Jolly Jamboree on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Smithfield High School.