Old Town parade honors founding fathers

It is billed as the nation's largest George Washington birthday parade. Participants marched a one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria on this federal holiday, honoring the city's most famous former resident and other founding fathers.

Parade organizer John Sims said, “Not only is [George Washington] our first president but he's our first veteran so we celebrate that and his connection to all veterans, past and present.”

These days, Presidents Day seems to be more about shopping deals and furniture sales, but in Washington's old stomping grounds they take this holiday seriously.

Mayor Bill Euille said, “It does have meaning, especially here in Alexandria. We've been doing this for over 217 years.”

Organizers said the parade featured 3500 participants – including marching bands, politicians and plenty of animals.

Because of the cold weather, parade participants in period costumes wore several layers, and then some.

Sidewalks and roadways were clear, but signs of last week's snowstorm lined the streets.

For children, the piles of snow offered a better vantage point. But a few of them spent most of the parade looking down at their feet, kicking snowballs into slush.