Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Early Thanksgiving Feast and the Grand Illumination Parade

Sweet Potatoes

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the campground held a potluck Thanksgiving feast for the whole park.  They roasted a half-dozen turkeys and several hams (they started cooking them a couple days before, and you could smell them through the whole campground!), and everybody brought side dishes.

In the morning before the feast, Tom and I went into Suffolk to check out the Farmers Market and Christmas Bazaar.


Mr. PeanutEverybody was getting into the Christmas spirit – even Mr. Peanut!

It was a nice Farmers Market, but small, and we didn’t buy anything.  Tom enjoyed the Petting Zoo, though!

Tom liked the petting zoo

Back at the campground, I got my dinner contributions ready.  I made Tom’s favorite – sweet potatoes – and a pan of brownies for dessert. 

Unfortunately, Nicolas had duty that day, so he couldn’t be there . . . but Tom and I went to the dinner with several of Nicolas’ neighbors in the monthly loop.  There was tons of food, and nobody walked away hungry!  We were able to fix a plate for Nicolas to enjoy the next day, too.

Dinner was at 1pm, so we were still able to make it to 4pm mass, and then to downtown Norfolk for the Grand Illumination Parade in the evening.  We’d been to Norfolk a couple of times with Nicolas, and I had a general idea of where the parade was going to be . . . but we were not prepared for the massive crowd that was there on this Saturday night!  Nick told us it gets crowded on Saturdays, but I think everybody in the Hampton Roads area was downtown for the parade!!

We finally found our way to a parking structure just a block off the parade route, and it was only $5 for the evening . . . perfect!  We had over an hour until the parade start, so we walked along the parade route, moving closer to the starting point. 

We walked by Urban Ice – a shop that makes “rolled” ice cream – and decided to give it a try.  Basically, you choose your base flavor, mix-ins, and toppings (unlimited mix-ins and toppings for a single price), and the ice cream is made right in front of you on a metal plate over dry ice.

First they mix the base ingredients and mix-ins, combining until it all blends and starts to freeze,

Urban Ice

Then they spread it thin and add the toppings (and if they’re really creative, they write your name in topping!)

So cool!

That was so cool – my name written in caramel!

Next, using a spatula, the thin sheet of ice cream is scraped off the ice-cold metal plate into rolls.

Ice cream rolls

More toppings sprinkled over the finished ice cream, and it’s done!

The finished product!

A yummy coffee-toffee-caramel sundae!

Coffee and toffee and caramel -- YUM!

That was fun . . . and tasty, too!

After enjoying our ice cream treats, we claims a spot on the sidewalk and waited for the parade to start. 

Illumination Parade

Naval Station Norfolk is celebrating 100 years in Norfolk, and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (in Portsmouth) is celebrating 250 years this year, so ships and sailors were prominent on many floats, as well as the theme of the parade in general, “From Sea to Shining Sea”.

Navy Ship float

Navy Band

Navy Shipyard float

Navy Ship float

Even some organizations that aren’t part of the Navy got in on the Navy theme!

Another Navy themed float

There was even a Blue Angels balloon.

Blue Angels balloon

This was probably the best of the Navy floats, though – very realistic looking.

Another ship

I think every High School in the area had their marching band in the parade – they were all very good!

High School Band

Another well-lit band

Firetrucks, too, from all the surrounding communities,


and several vintage trucks!

Vintage Firetruck


Love this poodle in the front seat!

Love the poodle!

There were a bunch of large balloons in the parade, but we weren’t in a good spot to see them.  We were right between two arches that crossed the road, so all the balloons had to be down close to the ground when they went past us, and we didn’t get a good look at them.

We were in a bad spot to see balloons

There were a couple dog rescue groups, but the cutest had to be the P.U.G.S

Pugs U Gotta Save

Pugs U Gotta Save

My pictures of them didn’t turn out too good, but they were so cute!

So many cute little pugs!

A group of VW’s,


and some crazy dancing dinosaurs!

Crazy dinosaurs!

Then there were the vehicles covered with as many lights as they could get on them!

I think this may have been the brightest float!

LOTS of lights on the recycling truck!

Old Dominion Energy

Then the final float of the parade – on a float completely covered in white lights – the big guy himself!

Santa Claus!

Santa's Arrival!

It was a really nice parade, and we thoroughly enjoyed it . . . it would have been nice if Nick could have gone with us!

After the final float passed us, we merged with the mass of people making their was back towards the parking structure and the train – wall to wall people! 

We got back to our Jeep and started to leave the parking structure, but we just weren’t going anywhere!  So we decided to wait it out – we pulled back into a parking spot and walked back to the now-deserted street.  We went into the Brick Anchor Brew House and enjoyed a nightcap while traffic cleared.


That worked out perfectly – we got back to the jeep at 10pm, and the structure was nearly empty, and all the roads were clear!  It was a really nice evening, and Norfolk is definitely a fun town!  I think Nicolas will like living here for the next few years!

1 comment:

  1. That parade reminds me of the one we all attended in Fort Myers. Most times waiting for the crowds to clear is less frustrating and hassle free. Glad you enjoyed yourselves.
    Wishing both the boys the best in their Careers.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


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