Colonial Heights’ 65th annual Christmas parade is here once again, and the nighttime event will be held Dec. 5 this year. Gray Gaulding, a native of Colonial Heights and a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver, will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal.
The parade, started by the Colonial Heights Optimist Club in 1953, is touted as a unique event that draws people from all over the Tri-Cities area. Floats representing businesses and schools, the Boy Scouts, dancers and instructors from local dance academies usually present in the parade, in addition to Gold Star families who have lost loved ones in combat.
The families walk in the parade holding fallen soldier banners made by Joann Duncan, a Gold Star sister who lost her brother in the Vietnam War. Duncan, who is also the auxiliary president of VFW Post 2239, got the idea for the banners after reading about a similar effort by a Gold Star mother in Washington state.
The Chester VFW also has a deuce coupe and a half Army truck that they decorate for the parade. Families who are unable to walk in the parade ride on the truck, and their loved one’s banner hangs on the side.
The parade begins at the Temple Avenue and Boulevard, intersection and continues south on the Boulevard ending at the Colonial Heights Courthouse. The Boulevard will be closed southbound at Lakeview Avenue and two lanes will remain open northbound from Temple Ave.
The theme for this year’s parade is “All I Want for Christmas.”