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Grand Illumination Parade returns in full force with 'holiday magic' in Downtown Norfolk

Longtime attendees and newcomers packed the streets to catch a glimpse of holiday-spirited floats and performances Saturday night.

NORFOLK, Va. β€” A local favorite made a big comeback Saturday night. The Downtown Norfolk skyline lit up to kick off the 36th Annual Grand Illumination Parade.

The event drew thousands of people for a night of family-friendly fun.

Scores of parade spectators and participants took in the "holiday magic," an experience fitting given the 2022 theme of the Grand Illumination Parade.

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Floats, performers and even pets took part in the two mile-long parade route.

The parade gave families and friends a chance to get in the holiday spirit.

"It's exciting. This is the official welcoming, ushering in of the holiday season," Carlos Clanton, a band judge and chairman of Norfolk School Board.

This event marked a comeback, since 2020 and 2021 festivities couldn't carry on because of COVID-19.

For some, it meant returning to yearly traditions and favorites.

"The music...listening to the bands," said fellow band judge Randy Hobbs. 

"The costumes, the excitement and all of the little kids lined up along the street," band judge Danielle Roby said. 

"We've been coming for years, since they were little girls," said Nichole Techanchuk, a paradegoer from Virginia Beach. 

For others, it was a new experience to enjoy

"This is actually my first one," said Greg of Norfolk. And the first one for his 7-month-old baby, "It's just great family time."

"It feels so good being out. We thought it was going to be freezing, but it was like the perfect night out tonight. So, it feels really good," Techanchuk added.

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