Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

We kicked off our Christmas festivities this year by taking in the sights and sounds of two annual Alexandria traditions—The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade and The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade. 

What was also very exciting was that we were able to accomplish both activities as planned. How often do you intend to do something or go somewhere and get sidetracked? Yeah, exactly. That is why I was thrilled that we got to attend both these activities today, and we went out to dinner with some friends later. 

Every year since 1969, Alexandria kicks off the holiday season with the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend which includes a parade, fun games for the family, and ends with the Holiday Boat Parade. The weekend festivities are a fundraiser for social services in Alexandria.  

The history of Alexandria reads like a Who's Who of American History, George Washington, George Mason, and Robert E. Lee are just a few famous Americans who had a hand in the heritage of a city that owes its founding to hard-working Scottish merchants.
In 1669, Scotsman John Alexander purchased the land of present-day Alexandria from an English ship captain for "six thousand pounds of tobacco and cask." In November 1748, three Scottish settlers, William Ramsay, John Carlyle and John Pagan, sailed up the Potomac River from Dumfries, Virginia, to look for a better trading port, and they petitioned the House of Burgesses to establish a town at the location.

They sought the creation of a port to facilitate the shipping and trade of tobacco and other crops between the colony, Europe and Great Britain. The petition was accepted and in May of 1749 Governor Gooch signed the bill establishing the new town. It was to be called Alexandria, in honour of the Scottish Alexander family on whose land it would rise. A few months later, lots were surveyed and auctioned off on a sultry two days, July 13-14, 1749, and thus began Alexandria's 250-year history.

Consistently ranked by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the 20 events in the South, it has grown from a small informal parade to an entire weekend filled with events and festivities. A city rich in Scottish heritage, Alexandria is the gathering site for hundreds of clans and pipe and drum bands from far and near with their faithful friends, the terriers and hounds. (Taken partly from the visitalexandria website).

The crisp morning air was filled with the lilt of bagpipes, drum rolls, and Happy Christmas cheers. Colorful tartans and an entourage of four-legged friends walked past me this morning as I took part in one of Alexandria's famous holiday traditions. 

Someone is not too happy about being out in the cold this morning ;) 

This guy knew I was taking photographs, so he literally walked up to me and posed for a minute or two. Thank you! 

It could have easily been a car show! We were entertained by these fine specimens of automobile history interspersed with the men in skirts, I mean, kilts. 

The one thing I was quite surprised about was the parade of terriers and other dogs. I mean, there were at least a hundred dogs walking in the parade, dressed up in their colors. Too cute! 

Scottish Carrot Top? 

How perfect to be transported in time and culture! 

Each clan marched with their name on a banner and a proud look on their faces, much like the one on this guy's face :) 

A tiny tart-an :)

How adorable is he?!!!

And, last but not the least, a surprise guest—Darth Vader in Christmas attire. What a way to end the parade!

Let the 'Happy Christmas' season begin! 


  1. I LOVE all of the dogs in this parade! You captured it with such amazing and colorful photos!

    1. Chels, you would have loved it! Thanks for the comment on the photographs :)


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