The Chesapeake Rotary Club’s annual Christmas parade is a hot place to be on a cold December night, but if you want to see it, you’d better plan your spot in advance.
Citizens of Chesapeake, and some of its surrounding cities, set up chairs and park vehicles as early as a week beforehand to claim their spots. It’s a tradition that started in the last 15 to 20 years, according to parade co-chair, Anthony Draper.
The parade route runs on Mount Pleasant Road and continues along Battlefield Boulevard and Cedar Road. An entire day prior to this event, parking along these streets is almost full. For many years the city and private business owners tried to prevent patrons from setting up camp that early, but eventually many of them gave in to what is now looked at as a tradition.
However, the City of Chesapeake continues to make sure the chairs along the sidewalk aren’t causing a safety hazard. They posted to their Facebook page on Wednesday stating they had moved some of the chairs away from the sidewalk and curb to prevent any potential dangers.
The parade has been a cherished Chesapeake tradition for 35 years. Co-chairs, Anthony Draper and Dianne Copeland Adcock, have been planning the production for about six years.
Draper said they begin the planning process as soon as the current parade ends, with applications for entries starting by mid-summer each year. This year they have 93 entries.
Nearly 300 volunteers help put on the production, including members of the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office and the Community Emergency Response Term (CERT), according to Adcock.
Each year a theme is chosen and this year floats and units will be decorated for “An American Christmas.” Awards will be given to groups for categories like “Most Spirited” and “Best Theme Interpretation.”
According to Draper and Adcock, all of the entry money for the parade is donated to local charities.
While the citizens of Chesapeake cram their chairs into every square inch of the parade route through town, Adcock says the best place to see the parade in action is by the grandstand at City Hall.
Whether you’ve been waiting for this parade all year and mapped out your perfect spot since Halloween or you’re just hearing about this parade today, it is sure to be a holiday spectacular that will fill your hearts with Christmas spirit.