CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Thousands of toy-inspired floats and themes made up the sights and sounds during Charleston’s 2023 Christmas Parade in what was expected to be the city’s biggest one yet.
Line up for the Toy Land-themed parade got underway along the Kanawha Boulevard Thursday evening.
“Every year I feel like it gets better and better,” Charleston resident Kim McQuain said while waiting for the parade to start. “It’s bigger every year, everybody comes out, and it’s really good for the community.”
A multitude of school bands, teams and groups, churches, businesses, organizations, and even individuals filled up the colorful procession that made its way from Kanawha Boulevard, to Capitol Street, to Washington, to Summers Street before winding its way back around to the Boulevard.
The entourage of parade participants came out with floats and costumes displaying a variety of toy-related themes, including more traditional Nutcracker and teddy bear themes, along with Toy Story and Barbie themes.
One of the organizations MetroNews caught up with during the line up was Mountain Artist Democracy who supports local art, music and charities throughout the Kanawha Valley.
A spokesperson of the organization Gregory Fort said with what he believes to be around 1,500 to 2,000 spectators or more coming out to watch Charleston’s parade, it’s a good way for their group to get noticed.
“We’re really looking forward to it, this is a good way to get our name out, I’ve been in the parade for the last couple of years with a different group, so I’m happy to get ours in this year.”
He said along with the thousands of spectators, he believed this year’s parade was supposed to be bringing in over 200 entrants.
Alison Saunders with the group said she was particularly excited because this was her first time being in the Charleston Christmas Parade, and it was bringing back a sense of nostalgia for her from parades gone-by.
“I’ve always loved Christmas time and parades, and it’s kind of a way to track back, because I was in the marching band and stuff like that, so it’s a lot of fun to get back into it,” Saunders said.
McQuain was going to be in the parade representing Warner Law Offices, however, first she was waiting to see her daughter perform with the John Adams Middle School Band.
She said she is always happy to see the parade bring everyone together and get them in the Christmas spirit.
“I think it brings the community together, and I like the fact that it is at night too, instead of what it used to be during the day on a Saturday, you have a lot more people out, a lot more community people,” said McQuain.