Stepping back in time at Amissville carnival and parade

By Katie Yeager
Special to the Rappahannock News

Old-fashioned family fun.

That’s the best way to describe the annual Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Carnival and Parade, the likes of which are becoming fewer and farther between in rural Virginia.

Young Amissvile beauty queens wave to the crowd during Thursday evening’s parade. By John McCaslin

Held last Thursday through Saturday, the annual event offers an escape into pure summertime fun: bright red fire engines parading up Route 211, beauty queens of every age waving from floats, spinning carnival rides galore, fun games with stuffed animal prizes, funnel cake and snowcones, and much more.

Despite this past week’s high temperatures, parade goers cheered the passing floats and waved to friends participating in Thursday evening’s kick-off extravaganza. Children were delighted to be thrown candy and prizes by numerous marchers from Rappahannock County and beyond.

The parade is used by many each year to advertise community groups and businesses. Parade floats ranged from the Marie Washington law firm of Warrenton to Baldwin’s Towing of Sperryville, and everything and everybody in between.

Photos by Sara Schonhardt

Gary Leake, athletic director of Highland School in Warrenton, rode through the streets on his float advertising his real estate business, with a sign reading: “Call the Coach!” In fact, the winner of the float contest turned out to be Leake.

“I was very impressed with the support generated for the Amissville Volunteer Fire Department’s parade and carnival,” he said. “I truly appreciated the opportunity to participate and it’s always great to see county friends.”

Besides two dozen fire trucks from stations all across the county and elsewhere, attendees heard from two Civil War reenactment soldiers who trotted on their horses along the parade route, calling attention to the rich American history that Rappahannock County and the Shenandoah region share in common.

Even politicians came to stump for votes: Rappahannock resident and Democratic congressional candidate Leslie Cockburn, who rode in the parade on a hay wagon, and her Republican opponent from Nelson County, Denver Riggleman, who chose to march in the parade.

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