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Staunton’s Spider-Man chosen as Grand Marshal for 2023 Christmas Parade

Rebecca Barnabi
The Staunton Christmas Parade returned to downtown in 2021 for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

Staunton’s annual Christmas Parade will march along Beverley Street starting at 7 p.m. tonight with a local superhero as Grand Marshal.

This year’s Grand Marshal is Staunton’s very own Spider-Man, who said that being chosen is a “surreal experience.” And an experience he will always be grateful for to the community.

“I’ve always been against accepting money, or for that matter thanks, as I’m doing what I love in being able to volunteer, take pictures and be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But having an opportunity to see so many familiar faces and new ones as well, it’s incredibly exciting, and it’s a true honor. I hope people know how thankful I am for tonight, and how thankful I am to see them every time I do,” Spiderman said.

SDDA Marketing Manager Owen Marshall said Spider-Man is not just a superhero in comics.

“He embodies the values of courage, compassion and community. Having Staunton’s WallCrawler, who has been volunteering his time over the past year, offering assistance and directions to visitors, sharing our events and happenings through social media for businesses and organizations as well as posing for photos with children and families, is a perfect choice as this year’s Grand Marshal. Spider-Man aligns perfectly with the spirit of the season, spreading joy and kindness — reinforcing a positive message for everyone, young and old,” Marshall said.

New this year is a Parade Pre-show starting at 6:15 p.m. Special performances and demonstrations will include Valley Dance Theatre, Shenandoah Civic Dance Company, Back in The Groove, Revolution Twirlers, Jazzercise and Grandmaster Dong’s Martial Arts. The groups will travel along the regular parade route, stopping briefly at intersections along Beverley Street.

Sponsored by Columbia Gas of Virginia, the parade is organized by the Staunton Downtown Development Association with support from the Staunton Kiwanis Club. This year’s theme is “A Cozy Christmas.” Club members coordinate the parade’s line-up, and ensure the parade keeps moving through downtown and on schedule.

“The Staunton Christmas Parade has been a holiday tradition for decades,” SDDA Executive Director Greg A. Beam said, “and last year the SDDA, along with the countless spectators lining the streets of downtown enjoyed the highly successful and festive Staunton Christmas Parade which included over one hundred and fifteen organizations and businesses as participants.”

Staunton’s Christmas Parade begins with an official ribbon cutting with a few special holiday friends at the corner of Frederick and New streets.

According to a letter which Santa and Mrs. Claus sent to SDDA, the North Pole’s most famous residents are eager to return to the Queen City for the holiday season. Santa’s float is sponsored by McKee Foods and will be led through downtown by Bobby’s Towing Service Inc.

“SDDA strives to create safe, fun and family friendly opportunities for folks to come together and enjoy the holidays in downtown,” Beam said.

The parade can also be viewed from the comforts of home via LiveStream.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.