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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!

The holidays are coming to Reston Town Center on Friday, November 23! We’re pleased and excited to announce the 2012 theme “Come Out to Play!” celebrating the child in all of us with games of every shape and size – from board games and yard games, to card games and organized sports! We’re also delighted to honor Bruce Butler as this year’s Grand Marshal, he recently retired from South Lakes High School where he served as Assistant Principal for seven years and as an award-winning Principal for another  seven! So join us for a playful day of holiday celebrations with activities, festivities and events for the whole family!

Black Friday
We like to think of this day as “Parade day,” but it’s also Black Friday to the rest of the world, so stores open at 8 am instead of 10 am for those who want to do a bit of shopping while the kids are “running” around before the festivities.

The Gingerbread Man Mile
The day starts off bright and early at 8 am with the Gingerbread Man Mile fun run for kids ranging from toddlers to high schoolers. Presented by Potomac River Running, registration is free and all donations benefit Neediest Kids!

8:00 am – 6-7 year olds (1 mile)
8:15 am – 8-9 year olds (1 mile)
8:30 am – 10-11 year olds (1 mile)
8:45 am – 12-14 year olds (1 mile)
9:00 am – High School Division (1 mile)
9:10 am – 4-5 year olds (approx .4 mile)
9:20 am – Tot Trot (2 blocks)

There’s a reason to run as fast as you can; race winners get to take part in the parade following the race!

The Reston Holiday Parade
The event we’ve been waiting for all year starts at 11 am sharp, so “Come Out to Play! ” – we had fun with the logo, hope you do too!   The parade has been a tradition since 1990 with Macy’s-style balloons, marching bands, dance numbers, cars, community groups and more, but most importantly it’s become a family tradition for many who join us year after year to watch the holidays come alive.  And each year Santa and Ms. Claus are featured at the end of the parade, wishing everyone another memorable and joyous holiday season! So come out early for a good spot, and come dressed for any type of weather, as the show goes on no matter what!

It wouldn’t be the Holiday Parade without the bells! Volunteers will be handing them out to children along Market Street prior to the start of the Parade so they can clap and jingle for the participants! Once the Parade has started, any remaining bells will be handed out near the fountain and Ice Skating Pavilion. Our goal is to make sure every child can receive a bell, thus, we strictly limit distribution to children. The 20 and up crowd, we understand your pain, we love the bells too, but we want to make sure the little ones have the most magical holidays and we appreciate your cooperation.

Visits & Photos with Santa
Once Santa and Mrs. Claus make their way over from the Parade, they will be available for visits and pictures from 12:30 – 4:30 pm by the information center. You can take home a 5” x 7” souvenir portrait when you donate any amount to South Lakes High School Chorus, who will be providing volunteers for the event!

Tree Lighting and Sing Along
The day isn’t over yet, Santa and Mrs. Clause still have more work to do! At 6 pm a horse-drawn carriage will whisk the pair down Market Street to the giant Christmas Tree. And as everyone gathers around, the whole crowd will close their eyes, count to three, and with a mighty wish, help Santa light up the tree and Reston Town Center for the holiday season! At that moment, Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Reston Chorale and a brass quintet will lead the merry bunch in Christmas carols and holiday melodies. Song books are provided before the tree lighting and after Santa heads back to the North Pole.

Horse-drawn Carriage Rides
The sounds of horse hooves clip clopping down Market Street and sleigh bells can only mean one thing … carriage rides! Starting at 6:30 pm, get picked up in front of Talbots on Market Street and enjoy a ride through the newly lit Reston Town Center. Rides cost $5 per person, (children 5 and under ride free!) with all proceeds benefiting Volunteer Fairfax, who also provides volunteers for the evening.  But don’t worry if you can’t get a ride that night, carriage rides will also be available Saturdays in December, 4-9 pm benefiting different local non-profits.

December 1, benefits Reston Rotary
December 8, benefits Character Counts! Reston
December 15, benefits Reston Interfaith
December 22, benefits Volunteer Fairfax!

Volunteer
This special day wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of faithful volunteers each year. So if you want to experience the holiday celebration from “inside,” email volunteer@restontowncenter.com for more information on volunteering!

Ice Skating
The sparkling ice skating rink will be open from 9 am – 11 pm for those whose holidays aren’t complete without some winter fun on the ice. Any skating supplies you may need are available in the Skate Shop next to the Pavilion.

Gingerbread Village at the Hyatt Regency Reston
Don’t forget to visit the Gingerbread Village, a tradition as old as the Parade, on display in the Hyatt Regency Reston lobby from November 21 – December 27. Let the sweet aromas of gingerbread and candy take you back in time as you look through the intricate holiday village made completely of confection. The village takes five days to make and consists of 100 pounds of flour, 2 gallons of molasses, 2 gallons of honey, 145 pounds of sugar, 1 ½ pounds of cinnamon, 1 ½ pounds of nutmeg, 15 pounds of pretzels and 90 pounds of candy. So go and literally feast your eyes!

We look forward to seeing you there, and if you’d like to see more pictures of last year’s festivities, check out our Facebook page!

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