No Rain On This Parade

No Rain On This Parade

Arlington’s annual Neighborhood Day parade goes off without a hitch.

The forecast called for a thunderstorm and, luckily, it couldn’t have been more wrong.

Arlington’s 11th annual Neighborhood Day parade took place this weekend and thousands of people showed up under dry skies to celebrate the county and its uniqueness.

There were more than 70 groups that participated, representing different aspects of Arlington culture, in the parade — which began at the Clarendon Metro Station and went down Wilson Boulevard to the Courthouse Metro Station.

The Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, the Clarendon Presbyterian Church and a group of D.C. United super-fans all marched down the people-lined street along with dozens of other organizations and causes.

This being Arlington, several political factions were represented too.

The County Board showed up in force along with local attorney Bob James and incumbent Treasurer Frank O’Leary who are locked in a tight primary race. A group called Arlingtonians for Obama marched down Wilson Boulevard as well and many parade watchers were seen sporting the candidate’s stickers throughout the day.

But the main attraction for this year’s Neighborhood Day parade was the roughly half a dozen Bolivian folkloric groups that danced down the street in full regalia.

Each group followed a truck with speakers that boomed Latin music. The groups were made up of adults and children dressed in colorful costumes and masks.

They performed traditional Bolivian dances, to the delight and amazement of the onlookers.

The dancers were part of Alma Boliviana, a cultural group composed of Northern Virginia's Bolivian community. The group, founded in 1991, has performed at the Neighborhood Day Parade for several years now and has also performed at the Kennedy Center and the 2004 Presidential Inauguration Parade.

County spokesperson Serena Ingre-Martinez said that Alma Boliviana is an example Arlington's embrace of cultural diversity.

"What it really demonstrates," she said, "Is the commitment of Arlington to be an inclusive community."