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The Reston Holiday Parade has marched down Market Street, you’ve snapped a few pictures with Santa, done a little shopping, and maybe even grabbed a nap in the afternoon (it is a holiday after all) and November 23, the day after Thanksgiving has been a success, but now it’s time to bring on Christmas! So you’re in front of Fountain Square at 6pm and you’re standing in a crowd electrified with the excitement of Christmas while waiting for Santa’s re-appearance for the Tree Lighting and Sing Along!

Bundled in warm coats, close to your family and neighbors, hugging a cup of hot chocolate, the moment comes when Santa asks for everyone to help light up Reston Town Center with the spirit of Christmas. Led by Cerphe, a DC radio icon, the crowd unites to close their eyes, find that perfect Christmas wish and join that collective wishing power with a 1…2…3…WISH! The power of that Christmas wish lights not only the tree in a brilliant glow, but the entire Reston Town Center!

As everyone marvels at the twinkling spectacle, Santa stirs up the brass quintet and Reston Chorale with a mighty rendition of “O Christmas Tree.” If you missed the handing-out of song books before the tree lighting, you’ll be able to find one at this point and finish singing in the Christmas season. Santa will eventually make his way back to the North Pole, but the crowd will still be singing merrily along.

If you can’t bear to part from this magical Christmas wonderland once the music finishes, you can always hop into a horse-drawn carriage for a ride around Reston Town Center while reveling in the Christmas spirit. And if you’d prefer a warmer climate, head over to Candyland in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Reston for their magnificent Gingerbread Village made entirely out of confection!

We hope you welcome Christmas with us on November 23 starting with the Gingerbread Man Mile at 8am, the Reston Holiday Parade at 11am, Visits & Photos with Santa 12:30-4:30pm, all the way to the Tree Lighting & Sing Along at 6pm. To join us for the day’s activities, find more info at http://www.restontowncenter.com/holidays/!

Some of the great things about the day after Thanksgiving: you have leftovers for days, you’re finally able to listen to Christmas music without earphones, but best of all, there’s a full day of activities going on at Reston Town Center! In case you’re not the type to get up at 3 am after eating all that food to go shopping (there will be plenty of time for that later), it’s time to “Come out to Play” with friends and family on Friday, November 23, featuring the Reston Holiday Parade at 11 am!

Imagine standing next to a giant Christmas tree along Market Street (at an hour where the sun is out), cradling a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate (depends on how grown up you feel that day), while you excitedly wait for the Emerald Society Pipe Band to signal the beginning of the parade as the opening banner makes its way down Market Street toward you. Pipes blaring, you cheer, clap, and join in with hundreds of children ringing their jingle bells as legendary creator of Reston, Bob Simon, rolls by.

Dancers, musicians, acrobats, antique cars and more parade pass by while a few groups, like “Gotta Swing” and “Dynamix Salsa Dance Group” stop to really show off what they’ve got. There’s so much to see, but there’s no way you’ll miss those monstrous Macy’s-style helium balloons as they slowly float by, marveling in their wake. The line-up is different every year, but the nostalgia, camaraderie and merriment remain the same!  So come out and see what spectacles await!

And then FINALLY, after all the balloons, merriment and performances … Santa and Mrs. Claus, the ones we’ve been waiting for,  come clip-clopping into view down the street in their horse-drawn carriage waving, and bringing the magic of the Christmas spirit with them. And as you feel that tingly emotion all over, you know, officially, Christmas has arrived and it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

For more pictures of last year’s parade, check out our Facebook album!

We also invite you to join the rest of our memorable day – with the Gingerbread Man Mile (for kids!) at 8am, Visits & Photos with Santa 12:30-4:30pm, Tree Lighting and Sing-Along at 6pm, Horse Drawn Carriage Rides 6:30-10pm. More information at www.restontowncenter.com/holidays! And for a little preview of what the day is going to look like, check out this news clip with Reggie the Bear!

Whatever you do, we hope you and your family create a holiday season worth remembering for years to come!

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