dozens of possibilities stretching from
Portland, Maine, to Powhatan, Va.
The result is a list of six parades
worthy of a detour. Although all unroll
in late fall and darkest winter, it is clear
that neither snow nor sleet can discourage a group of people determined to get
out there and strut, sashay—or even
boogie—through the center of town.
Costumes? Of course. Marching bands
and loud horns? You bet.
Prepare for entertainment of the
purest, least pretentious kind. And
book your train tickets early. During
high parade season, you don’t want to
find yourself stuck at home, in front
of the TV.
Thanksgiving, Plus Two
What: City of Lights Parade
When: Saturday, Nov. 29
Where: Lowell, Mass.
Why: Everybody in town turns out
for this nighttime parade, a tradition for
nearly 50 years. The theme is Welcome
Santa, a thin excuse for trolley rides, a
City Hall lighting ceremony, storytelling and more. Expect to rub shoulders
with up to 25,000 rubberneckers lined
up along the route, says Lowell Mayor
Edward Caulfield, and don’t miss the
moment “when we throw the switch to
light up City Hall and start the Christmas
season.” You’ll see some 3,500 people go
by, whether in bands or on floats, with
Mr. and Mrs. Claus pulling up the rear.
“Everyone is 11 years old at that point,”
Caulfield says. “It’s a wonderful occasion,
the best time of the year.” And no one has
to stay out too late; the parade starts at
5 p.m. and ends succinctly in 75 minutes.
What: Lighted Boats Parade
When: Saturday, Dec. 6
Why: A local yacht club organizes
this 90-minute watery parade across the
Inner Harbor in the heart of the city. It’s
a lively scene, says longtime organizer
Dave Perry, with dozens of decorated
boats braving the cold to sail or motor