McLean Kicks off Christmas Season with Reindogs, Community Carolling
By Bobbi Bowman, The McLean Ear
MCLEAN, VA – McLean families and friends flanked both sides of Chain Bridge Road in downtown Sunday afternoon to watch our only community parade known as WinterFest.
For about an hour floats, cars, marching bands, kids and a fire truck carrying Santa sauntered, marched and waved through way the maybe three-block long parade route from Fleetwood Drive to Brawner Street.
WinterFest was among three fun-filled community gatherings over the weekend the kicked off McLean’s Christmas preparations. (See video at right.)
Saturday morning, about 100 people and an unknown number of dogs gathered in frosty temperatures in the Langley Shopping Center for the 14th annual Reindog parade. Saturday afternoon about 40 folks gathered in the historic Pleasant Grove Church on Lewinsville Road for a community carol sing.
Winterfest’s 45 marchers including the Rotary, Cardinal Bank, the McLean Project for the Arts, Destination Fitness. Share, a coalition of religious and civic institutions created in 1969 to meet the emergency needs of the less fortunate in McLean, had a truck in the parade. But most importantly their volunteers worked the crwod collecting donated articles include gift cards. Share is administered totally by volunteers.
Sean and Cheryl Farley brought their toddler Caitlin. “Its a fun way to celebrate the holiday season,” said Cheryl. Sean: “I thought it would be fun for Caitlin.” This was their second year.
The parade ended with the lighting of the community Christmas Tree in the triangle where Chain Bridge Road forms a Y.
What is a Reindog Parade you might ask?
You dress your dog up to look like Christmas and the best costume wins. This year the judges who included WUSA anchor Peggy Fox and Dranesville Supervisor John Foust selected three first place winners:Pie, and owner Suellen Stroud of McLean, Cookie and owner Lizzy Isacson, 10. Koda and Gordon were a team along with their owners Abby Knutsen and Veronika Capon.
This is McLean’s annual Christmas shopping kickoff.
Alfredda Horton came every year. “I enjoy the sing along. My husband and daughter play in the ensemble. We have roots in this church.”
Peter Lowenthal came because his wife played piano for the community sing. She is the eldest daughter of Garry Jewett who had led efforts to save the historic black church. Her brother Stanford conducted the community sing and another sibling played in the band. The Jewett family lives across the street from the church.
The fun continues tomorrow at WinterFest. We’ll see you at 4pm lining the parade route Chain Bridge Road from Fleetwood Drive to the Langley Shopping Center.