<bt>Next week, the town of Vienna will parade its pride through the streets — literally. The theme for the 59th annual Vienna Halloween Parade is "Best Little Town in America: Fourth in the U.S., No. 1 in Our Hearts," referring to the town's recent ranking by CNN Money Magazine as the fourth "Best Place to Live" in the U.S.
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 7 to about 8:30 p.m., Maple Avenue will be closed as floats, marching bands, antique cars, clowns, animals and costumed children make their way along the half mile or so stretch from Branch Street to Center Street. There will also be a special guest appearance by the Redskins Marching Band. The parade is expected to draw a crowd of about 35,000.
All of the local high school bands will march, said Kathy Salgado, director of the Town of Vienna Parks and Recreation and parade committee member. Also present will be ethnic musical groups, "lots of Harleys, lots of Corvettes, lots of community groups," as well as horses, dogs and children's performing groups from local dance studios, said Salgado.
The grand marshals will be Julian Johnson and D.H. Scarborough, co-owners of the local accounting firm Johnson & Scarborough, who were selected "because they have contributed so greatly to making Vienna such a great place to live," said parade committee co-chair Joan Fletcher.
The reviewing stand, where dignitaries and emcees sit and where parade units are judged, will be across the street from Whole Foods, near Center Street.
All entrants have been encouraged in the registration packet to focus on Vienna and why it is the "Best Town in America." Entrants will be judged in the categories of youth band, adult band, float with music, float without music, youth performers, adult performers and antique vehicles, and an awards ceremony will be held at the Nov. 7 Town Council meeting.
All costumed children are invited to march, with adult supervision. Children will be assembling at Virginia Commerce Bank, 374 Maple Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Fletcher said 750 children will be marching.
The parade is the result of a partnership between the town and the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Ellen Galant, president of the chamber. "We're responsible for doing the fund raising and finding sponsors," she said. The chamber also helps plan the parade and is building a float, said Galant.
BB&T Bank donated the $2,500 to cover transportation for the Redskins marching band, and many other local businesses have contributed.
Salgado said that although the parade committee of about 15 people started meeting officially the week after July 4, planning the parade is "pretty much a year-round thing."
"It's such a big event, and I think most people don't realize that it's a committee of less than 20 people that pulls this off," said Fletcher.
The entire parade will be broadcast on Fairfax County Public Access on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. and again on Sunday at 8 p.m., Monday at 8:30 p.m. and Tuesday at noon.