Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Marshall Marches Magnificently in their 2016 Parade

Saturday morning I stood on Marshall Main Street with hundreds of locals waiting for the Christmas Parade to begin. It was freezing cold and a fierce wind ripped down the road nudging the temperature down even further. But faces were animated as I passed, folks had come prepared, with folding chairs and fluffy blankets over laps, scarves and hats, while a few others had turned up really early to find a parking spot by the road where they could watch the parade pass by from warm interiors. The resident vultures slowly soared across the wedgewood blue sky while a lone beagle trotted back and forth across the road, causing me to wonder if he had escaped the fox hound pack who would be parading down Middleburg's Main Street in a couple of hour's time. The Ford dealership had a huge shiny truck on its forecourt, all the doors open with Christmas music playing, adding to the air of excitement and anticipation that was filling our little town.
I walked up and down trying to find a good spot, finally plumping on a sunny patch looking towards the parade when it arrived, and which would feature the new Gentle Harvest store in the background of my shots. I also wanted the huge electrical poles with their many wires in plain view, as these will disappear next spring when Marshall loses its identity and has them removed, sidewalks ripped up to be replaced with thousands of red bricks, making it look like every other town and village along Rte 50 or in our area. Yes, I'm pissed about this, and plan on taking more photos of the town as it is now before it becomes 'Mini Middleburg'. But enough of my rant, back to the parade, where I had found my sun spot to stand in and was patiently waiting for the action to start. I sipped on coffee from Red Truck Bakery, because I hadn't been there for a while. Within a stones throw from where I stood there are 3 stores now serving fresh coffee, and I have a hard time choosing one since they're all good. Red Truck won today because of late I've been shopping more in Gentle Harvest, loving their products but also their exemplary customer service, where 'please' and 'thank you' are words often used. I do have to confess that the tasty beers at their bar are a draw too...
 Children chattered and munched on Christmas cookies, occasionally scurrying over to the other side of the road to tag a friend. The crowds were building and there was barely a free space along the sidewalks. And then we heard the sirens from the emergency vehicles and the Parade was here!
I love the blue and white Marshall fire truck. Remington, The Plains and Warrenton were also in attendance.
So many of Marshall's businesses and social activities were represented here, all kinds of vehicles hummed, growled or roared their way past us, accompanied by dancers and musicians who leaped and twisted, banged or blew their way down the street. With the yells and cheers coming from the crowds I'm sure we were heard from miles away, it was a great atmosphere. Joe's Pizza honked his way down to rapturous applause, especially when they stopped to hand someone a free pie. And the beautiful wagon from The Hunter's Head, also representing Gentle Harvest, was gorgeously decorated with its shining pair of Shires clopping past, coats shining and their brushed feathers floating around their ankles.
But of course, the children stole the show. I knelt down on the cold tarmac to capture them at their level and they didn't disappoint.
Whether they were wrapped up snugly in thick winter coats or in costume, smiles were bountiful, except for a couple, but they just made me laugh, they looked so comical. Some looked a little bewildered, some wistful, no doubt looking forward to their rewards of hot chocolate and sugary snacks, while others were thoroughly enjoying their individual spotlights, shimmying a dance down the road, or banging on a drum, or waving fanatically from a truck. Some chose to just sit back and quietly observe, but they all made fabulous photos.
Animals and adults alike, reveled in the attention too, happy to stop for a stroke or join in on a laugh.
I have no idea why Chick Fil A were there but being my favorite fast food I was happy to see them. I'm guessing they were from Warrenton, but sadly, although they were happy to give fans a high five, they didn't hand out any snacks. Boo! And then the parade ended with Santa waving from a vintage fire truck. The whole event had passed by in less than 45 minutes but I thought it had been longer, there had been so many colorful participants. The photographer ruining my Santa shot above was from, an ignoramus, who on more than one occasion walked directly in front of me as I was setting up a shot. No apology or acknowledgement that he was preventing me and others with cameras from getting great shots. I nearly kicked him up the arse to make him topple over but after a mental tussle I managed to stop myself.
There had been a Christmas Tree Competition between buildings on Main Street. the Whole Ox won the event but I preferred the uniqueness of this snowman tree, which hid behind a pillar. It should have been down on the sidewalk, I thought it was wonderful. And as I walked back to the car, with my hands thrust deep into warm pockets, I had to stop and grab this last shot of a woofer with a waggy tail, peering up at everyone who strolled past. He's made a right mess of that glass, ha ha! Love Marshall!

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