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Rain Does Not Dampen Alexandria’s 48th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade

Members of The Kiltie Band of York, an Lancaster, PA organization founded in 1928, wowed the crowds during the Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria, Va (Photo by Lucelle O’Flaherty/TheZebraPress).

ALEXANDRIA, VA–There were hundreds of umbrellas and rain coats covering tartan and scotch plaids when the 48th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk set afoot at 11 am Saturday, December 1, 2018 in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.

Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk is the summit of Scottish activity in the region for the year when Scottish immigrants and descendants march to the tune of their cultural and genealogical heritage. It’s a way to feel connected with a faraway home and with the ancestors some clan members never got to meet.

The parade is also a chance to give back: proceeds from participation fees benefit the Campagna Center, Alexandria’s leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and social development programs for children, teens, and adults.

Alexandria is steeped in Scottish history—in 1749 it was officially established by Scottish merchants and named after John Alexander. Those merchants were also members of the Saint Andrew’s Society in its early days. (One of them, William Hunter, is buried behind the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, and before each parade members place a wreath on his grave.)

But Alexandria has an even closer connection to Scotland—there are actually little pieces of it in the streets!  During the 18th century, when Alexandria was a major seaport, Scottish merchants sailed to the city using stones for ballast. Upon arrival, the ships dumped the stones in the streets, “lightening the load” as the saying goes. Legend has it that Old Town’s cobblestone streets still contain ballast from those Scottish ships.

Today the rain-soaked streets were lined with families who came out to watch and listen to the brightly colored marching units sporting magnificent patterns of Scottish Clans from all over the Mid-Atlantic region.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes donned plaid along with their owners and happily showed their breed’s pride in the 48th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk. (Photo by Lucelle O’Flaherty/TheZebraPress)

Added to the mix were the stirring sounds of Scottish bagpipes and drums, the clogging of Scottish dancers, the barks of Scottie dogs, Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Cavalier Spaniels along with rescue breeds  and Russian Wolfhounds who marched amongst dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, city officials and civic groups.

All trod on through the spattering rain from St. Asaph and Wolfe Streets to the concert-filled conclusion at King Street’s Market Square.

Participating Groups this year included:

  • Airedale Terrier Club of Metropolitan Washington, DC
  • Alexandria 4H
  • Alexandria Commission for the Arts
  • Alexandria Pipe & Drum Band
  • Alexandria Rugby
  • Alexandria Sister Cities
  • Alexandria Scottish Rite Knights of St. Andrew
  • Alexandria Seaport Foundation
  • American Clan Gregor Society
  • At Home in Alexandria
  • The Ballyshaners
  • Basilica School of St. Mary Girl Scout Daisy Troop 60082
  • Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar
  • Brandywine Living
  • Browne Academy
  • Brownie Troop 60008
  • Burgundy Farms
  • Burke & Herbert Bank (Sponsor)
  • Carpenter’s Shelter
  • Celtic Society of Southern Maryland
  • Christine Garner, Weichert Realtors (Sponsor)
  • Clan Baird Society Worldwide
  • Clan Bell
  • Clan Buchanan
  • Clan Campbell Society of North America
  • Clan Chisholm
  • Clan Colquhoun
  • Clan Donald
  • Clan Donnachaidh Mid – Atlantic Branch
  • Clan Douglas Society of North America
  • Clan Forbes
  • Clan Fraser Society of North America
  • Clan Guthrie, USA
  • Clan Hamilton Society
  • Clan Hay
  • Clan Henderson
  • Clan Hunter USA
  • Clan Irwin
  • Clan MacCallum Malcolm
  • Clan MacDougall
  • Clan MacKenzie Society
  • Clan MacLaren
  • Clan MacLean
  • Clan MacLeod Society USA
  • Clan Macnachtan
  • Clan MacNeil
  • Clan MacPherson Association
  • Clan Maxwell Society
  • Clan Montgomery Society International
  • Clan Morrison Society of North America
  • Clan Ramsay
  • Clan Scott Society
  • Clan Sinclair
  • Clan Stewart and Friends
  • Clan Strachan Society
  • Clan Wallace Society
  • Clan Wardlaw Association
  • Clan Young Society
  • Compass (Sponsor)
  • Cotton & Company (Sponsor)
  • Daisy Troop 60087
  • Daisy Troop 60098
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America
  • Daughters of the British Empire’s Pimms and Poppies Chapter
  • Edinburgh University Alumni Club of Washington DC
  • First Night Alexandria
  • Fort Hunt High School Alumni Association
  • Fraternal Order of Eagles (Alexandria 871)
  • Friends of Guest House
  • Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center
  • Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society
  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon
  • Girl Scout Service Unit 53-3
  • Girl Scout Troop 561
  • Innes Clan Society
  • Jaffa Highlanders Band
  • Kerr Family Association of North America
  • Kiltie Band of York Pipe Band
  • Kiwanis Club of Alexandria
  • Mason-Dixon Collie Club
  • Mazda (Sponsor)
  • Menzies Clan Society of North America
  • McEnearney (Sponsor)
  • Mid-Atlantic Deerhound Association
  • Mount Eagle Elementary Girl Scouts
  • Ms. Ireland USA 2018
  • Muskets of the Crown – 84th and 42nd Regiments of Foot
  • National Breast Center Foundation
  • National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, John Alexander Chapter, Alexandria Virginia
  • Nation’s Capital Jaguar Owners Club
  • Navarro Construction
  • Northern VA Sheltie/Potomac Valley Shetland Sheepdog Club
  • NOVA Firefighter’s Pipe Band
  • Old Town Frenchies
  • Operation Paws for Homes
  • Passport Auto Group (Sponsor)
  • Port City Brewing Company
  • Potomac Valley Samoyed Club
  • T.C. Williams High School Army JROTC
  • The Appin Regiment
  • The Auld Alliance
  • The Goodhart Group (Sponsor)
  • The Learned Kindred of Currie
  • The Little Theatre of Alexandria
  • The Old Town Boutique District
  • The Patterson Group (Sponsor)
  • The Rotary Club of Alexandria, VA
  • The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
  • The SCYC (Santa Claus Yacht Club)
  • The Scottish Government (Sponsor)
  • TTR Sotheby’s (Sponsor)
  • University of Glasgow
  • Virginia Scottish Games & Festival
  • School of Rock Alexandria (Sponsor)
  • Scottish American Military Society
  • Scottish-American Women’s Society of DC
  • Scottish Terrier Club of Greater Washington DC
  • Shamrock & Thistle Pipes & Drums
  • St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore Kommalan
  • St. Andrews Society of Mid-Maryland
  • St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia
  • St. Andrew’s Society of Washington DC (Sponsor)
  • Washington DC Area Cavalier King Charles
  • Westie Rescue of the Mid Atlantic States
  • Zelsman Powers Group, Realtors at Coldwell Banker


Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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