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Here’s your guide to Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk this weekend

Santa at the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Santa Claus will don a kilt and bagpipes this weekend for the Scottish Christmas Walk in Old Town. Here’s what you need to know about the annual event.

Congressman Don Beyer (D-8th) and his wife, Megan, are the grand marshals of the 52nd annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade. Thousands of parade watchers are expected to attend the free event, and the weather is forecasted to be cloudy and cool — perfect for taking pictures.

The parade lasts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes dozens of Scottish clans, dancers, bagpipers and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

This year, the parade also features a number of entertainers, including champion Scottish fiddler Seán Heely, singer SHENNA, LEGO master builder Andrew Litterst (with one of his creations on the route), and the parade’s newest participant — the Ethiopian Community Support Center.

The City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums marches in the 50th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Old Town, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The one-mile-long parade starts at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Wolfe and St. Asaph streets, and travels north to Queen Street, then turns right (east toward the Potomac River) on Queen for three blocks, turns right on Fairfax Street, right on King Street and then concludes at the reviewing stand in front of City Hall (301 King Street).

Also, don’t miss the end of the parade, where three bagpipe bands — the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums, St. Andrew’s Society’s Washington Scottish Pipe Band and Kiltie Band of York — play a massed concert at Market Square (301 King Street).

The parade route for the 2023 Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 (Via The Campagna Center)

Taste of Scotland

While the parade is the main attraction, the weekend of events is capped off Friday night (Dec. 1) with the Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland at The Atrium Building (277 S. Washington Street).

Single tickets for the event cost $200, and the event includes “whiskey-tasting stations, hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine bars and a custom art exhibit,” according to the Campagna Center. The evening is sponsored by The Goodhart Group, starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the event benefit Campagna Center core programs for Alexandria children and families.

Santa at The Torpedo Factory

Also on Saturday, the Torpedo Factory Art Center will host its annual holiday festival.

The event starts at 2 p.m., and art enthusiasts will have an hour-and-a-half before the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be ferried to the event by an Alexandria fireboat at around 3:30 p.m.

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Saturday’s events will conclude with the 23rd Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon.

The boat parade starts at 5:30 p.m. with more than 50 brightly lit boats cruising one mile along the Potomac River.

According to Visit Alexandria:

Enjoy dockside festivities from 1 to 8 p.m. in Waterfront Park including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company, holiday music and giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM,hot chocolate from Dolci Gelati, pizza by the slice from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, American comfort food from Mason Social cookies, snacks from Together We Bake and more.Also at Waterfront Park, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. enjoy hands-on activities from independently owned Alexandria businesses Shop Made in Virginia, Penny Post and AR Workshop Alexandria.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (photo via Visit Alexandria/Facebook)

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