Organizers make final decision on Cumberland Christmas parade

Published 1:26 am Friday, December 15, 2023

It appears that Mother Nature remains undefeated. There will be no Cumberland Christmas Parade this Sunday, as the weather forecast now calls for a 90% chance of rain. Parade organizers said they put off the decision as long as possible, in hopes something might change. But the only thing that changed was the amount of rain expected, which continues to grow. 

“The weather got the best of us,” said Cumberland parade organizer Barbara Gamage. “We are postponing again and will have a parade for our Patriot Day on April 20.” 

Gamage said there just wasn’t another time that the more than 50 groups involved could get together before Christmas, so for the first time since the pandemic, the Christmas parade had to be scrapped. She added that the Patriots Day celebration in April will be very similar to what they had planned, with just a different theme. 

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“We will have the same Grand Marshals and most of the entries I talked to (are) willing to be in it then,” Gamage said. 

Patriots Day is observed on the third Monday in April, commemorating the battles of Lexington, Concord and Menotomy, some of the first that sparked the American Revolution. If that holiday name sounds unfamiliar, it’s because Patriots Day isn’t observed by all states. In fact, only Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut and North Dakota hold it as an official state holiday. Cumberland’s event is one of the first official celebrations of the holiday in Virginia. This isn’t to be confused with Patriot Day, which is the name most states call the tribute held on Sept. 11 of each year, in recognition of the 9/11 attacks. 

“(I) guess we’ll have Uncle Sam instead of Santa Claus,” Gamage said. 

Also, as a result of the Christmas parade cancellation, the Cumberland Historical Society won’t hold a December meeting. The original plan was to hold a social hour after the parade, but now their next meeting has been rescheduled to Jan. 14.