Today Samantha marched in the Manassas Christmas parade with her dance school. They wore adorably cute Elf costumes and danced to "We are Santa's elves" from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
As a piece of background, Samantha also marched in this parade 2 years ago. Let me share the experience of two years ago for contrast. Two years ago it took us 25 minutes to find the location to drop Samantha off, and we dropped her off with no coat, no snacks and no water on a day where it was about 35 degrees with the wind blowing. We sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic and then drove down roads we didn't know trying to get to where we could watch the parade. We ended up at a good corner - right near the end of the parade - and across from a 7-11. That's a good thing. Samantha's location was number 104 in a parade of 112 entries. The parade was scheduled to start at 10am - and Samantha group launched AFTER 12:30. And did we know this from the other end of the parade? Of course not. All we knew was that we left her with no coat in the cold for hours. The parade was so poorly timed that at times there was 10 minutes or more between floats. The 7-11 was FULL of people because we needed to eat and use the bathroom after being there so long. Luckily we were able to bring the van up into the parking lot and mom and dad could sit in the van for a while until their performance got closer, because of course we didn't take any chairs with us. Samantha's group came through at about 2:30, if I remember correctly (because I have conveniently blocked it out)
Fast-forward two years.
We pulled into a parking lot right next to where Samantha's group was gathering (Mike was told he wasn't supposed to be there but oh well!). Samantha's teacher was STILL late in arriving (at 9:25, when she told us to arrive between 8:30 and 9am). But, she had warmer clothes and snacks and water. So, I left her with some other moms and we headed to our viewing location. I had pre-printed a map so I knew exactly how to get where we wanted to go. We went back to the SAME corner we used 2 years ago - but we were smarter this time. We parked backed into a spot so that we could see the parade route while sitting in the car. We brought the DVD player so the kids could watch videos until we got closer to Samantha's group. We brought our soccer chairs so we had somewhere to sit on the curb. We went into 7-11 early and got snacks, and while their bathrooms were CLEARLY marked with "Not for public use", I was able to get the nice lady behind the counter to let me in for Michael to go.
As the parade started, we watched the floats for a while. They were timed much better this time, although there were still some patches of "Dead space" while there was a group performing at the review stand just before us. But, they did a better job of spacing performance groups with floats so there weren't long periods of lapses.
As Samantha's group approached, I walked up the block so that I could see them perform at the reviewing stand. I got right up front so that I would have a good view of the dance and get some great photos.
And my camera broke!!
One of my children dropped it a few weeks back, just after we had gotten our other camera back because IT had been dropped.
I got the two shots of Samantha when we dropped her off and a couple of shots of favorite floats from the parade. But now I need to depend on the charity of the other moms, hoping they got some good shots of the performance and the marching with Samantha in them.
But, Mike saw a reporter talking to Samantha's teacher after the performance, so we are hoping they won an award.
If for nothing else, the wonderful costumes that were perfect for the occasion!
And it was just as cold as it was two years ago!