Christmas in Little Washington ‘best’ ever

Mayor: ‘For once everybody is happy’

Last Sunday’s “Christmas in Little Washington” celebration — from its myriad markets to colorful parade with fresh fallen snow as a backdrop — was a tremendous success, according to organizers.

“Near perfect,” Washington Mayor John Fox Sullivan told the Rappahannock News. “I think the best parade we’ve ever had.”

The mayor put the crowd size at 1,500 strong, including the 500 people who marched in the parade, although his honor quoted Washington-based realtor Butch Zindel as estimating the visitor count at closer to 2,000.

Regardless, Larry Grove of the Lions Club said this year’s celebration set a record for the number of parked cars in and around the county seat.

“One of the joys of riding in the parade,” noted Sullivan, “is I get to see people of every age smiling, cheerful, and in a good mood. For once everybody is happy!”

And who better to kick off the parade than the horse-driven members of the Rappahannock Hunt — representing Rappahannock, Culpeper and Madison counties, and led by president and Master of Foxhounds Gus Edwards — sporting their bright red coats and trailed by their beautiful and obedient hounds.

A social media writer named Brion captured the festive atmosphere this way: “​Macy’s can keep their parade. I think our parade is the best anywhere. At what other parade can you pet Mini Whinnies and Llamas, have candy tossed at you, see the RCHS Marching Band, and see folks from CCLC, Food Pantry, girl scouts, boy scouts, and so many more? Hats off to Jimmy Swindler: very classy of Jimmy to walk and have the student hero ride.”

Santa Claus himself, meanwhile, sent an email to parade organizers Thomas Pellikaan and Judy DeSarno, singing praises of Christmas in Little Washington and saying, “I hope to come again next year. Wonderful children here.”

Other nuggets from the parade committee:

  • “Commander of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps said that this is one event that members of the corps volunteer for and ask to come back each year. This year they received a gift of Rappahannock Lions Club Apple Butter and they were thrilled.”
  • “George Washington and his fair lady [Bill and Sarah Walton of Harris Hollow] were quite pleased with seeing the town named for him. And surprised that so many folks recognized him.”
  • “A big shout out to Thornton River Grill and Sperryville Trading for loaning their propane heaters and Rick Lessard and Keir Whitson for setting them all up.”
  • “Judy DeSarno noted that after months of planning and work it is completely worth it to see the happiness of everyone watching and the fun for everyone marching.”

Parade judges Kathleen Grove, Ross O’Donoghue and Fran Krebser had a difficult time in their roles, according to one elf who spoke on condition of anonymity, but reached a unanimous conclusion on all the choices.

Without further ado, the parade winners are:

Best Float: Rose Hill Veterinarian

Best Animals: Freestate llamas

Best Theme: The Girl Scouts

Best Costumes: RappCats

Best Antique Car: David Albee’s Nash Convertible

Best Antique Tractor: Richard Compton

Best Performance: RAAC and Mountainside Therapy

Best song: Belle Meade

Best Band: Rappahannock County High School Band

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at