Santa will be making one of his first stops of the holiday season in Vinton on November 30 at the annual Vinton Christmas Parade.
The Town of Vinton and the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce collaborate to produce the parade each year— usually the first in the valley. The Chamber of Commerce started the tradition with a small parade back in the 1950s.
In fact, the festivities in Vinton include far more than the parade. The evening will kick off at 4 p.m. with the Vinton Breakfast Lions Club Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser at the Vinton VFW Hall on Lee Avenue, which continues until parade time at 7 p.m.
There will be a tree lighting ceremony at the Municipal Building on Pollard Street at 6 p.m. with the William Byrd High School Marching Terriers, led by Director Dan Plybon, performing holiday favorites.
The Floyd Ward Dance Ensemble will follow at 6:20, performing on the Municipal Building Stage. The pre-parade activities will wrap up with vocalist Tela Espelage at 6:40. Tommy Curro will be joining her for a duet. Espelage and Curro are both students at William Byrd.
The Vinton parade, which gets under way around 7 p.m., will feature about 100 entries including six bands and floats entered by school, church, and civic organizations. Floats will be judged in religious and non-religious categories, with first, second, and third places awarded, plus the Mayor’s Award, and special children’s awards.
The route will begin at the former William Byrd High School, travel up Gus Nicks Boulevard, wind through the downtown streets, then turn back onto Washington Avenue and travel on to the Vinton War Memorial. Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride atop a Vinton Fire Truck to conclude the parade, along with many children and first responders.
But that’s not all. The town and Chamber will then host an After Parade Open House at the War Memorial around 8:30 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will disembark from the Town of Vinton fire truck and visit with the children by the fireplace at the War Memorial (usually with an elf or two on hand for assistance).
There will be coffee, apple juice, and cookies for the crowd and a Christmas Card-making Station for guests to create cards for veterans. Musician Keith Woods will perform favorite holiday tunes. Parade float winners for 2017 will be announced.
Sponsors of the Vinton Christmas Parade include the Town of Vinton, Roanoke County, Freedom First, BB&T, HomeTrust Bank, the Vinton Moose Lodge, Magnets USA, Lotz Funeral Home, Grand Rental Storage, Cox Business, Pinnacle Bank, Berkshire Health Care, Vertex, PFG, GRC Tires and Service, Vinton Computer, Cardinal IG, Twin Creeks Brewing Company, The Vinton Messenger, Member One, AEP, and Winter Storage.