Norfolk’s 33rd Annual Grand Illumination Parade kicks off the holiday season

NORFOLK, Va. – The 33rd Annual Grand Illumination Parade was held in Downtown Norfolk on Saturday, with many in attendance to view the lights and festivities.

The parade, which was sponsored by Nordstrom, helped bring Norfolk into the holiday spirit

The parade started on St. Paul’s Blvd and Main St. and traveled for two miles along the Downtown Norfolk streets.

The parade immediately followed the annual Grand Illumination that lights up the Downtown skyline. The lights will continue to adorn Downtown Norfolk throughout the holidays.

The theme for the evening, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” was interpreted by marching bands, animal brigades, motorized units, walking units and floats.

The parade was free and open to the public, and a variety of businesses and vendors took advantage of the crowded streets, by serving a food and items outside of their resturants and stores.

Along with Santa, bands and a variety of parade displays, the event did have a special military feel, because the theme of the parade helped to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Norfolk Naval Station.

“We are proud to honor the Norfolk Naval Station Centennial with a special salute during the Grand Illumination Parade,” said Mary Miller, president and CEO of Downtown Norfolk Council.

Captain Rich McDaniel, commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Station, was the distinguished Grand Marshall and lead the two mile parade.

Santa made an appearance at the parade, bring up the rear of a long line of great parade spectacles.

“This regional tradition brings thousands of people to Downtown to enjoy all of the vibrant offerings, entertainment and the best parade in the history of our region,” said Miller.