Parade offers more than floats, bands

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By Tom Wilmoth

Richard Champaign had a surprise for his girlfriend, Ruth Hampton, during Saturday’s Christmas parade in Bedford.


    As the Chamblissburg Rescue Squad entry rounded the corner of Washington and Center streets, he jumped out of the vehicle and ran towards her.
    Then he got on his knee and proposed.
    She said, “Yes!”
    Those around clapped in approval.
    “The parade just seemed like a    good    time    (to   do   it),”  Champaign said of popping the question during the parade.
    Was Hampton expecting it?
    “Not today,” she said. “He was telling me he was waiting to get (the ring) paid off.”
    The couple embraced, kissed and watched the rest of the parade together.
    Parade-goers from throughout the area lined the streets of Centertown to watch the 2011 Bedford Christmas Parade, which featured the theme, A Winter Wonderland.
    Ruth Crouch served as this year’s grand marshal. Crouch has worked in Bedford for more than 60 years. One of her first jobs was working for Spradlin and Updike, where the Bedford Social Club is now. She remembers chopping up meat to make hamburgers. She still has the contraption that she used. She is also known for the amazing pies that she bakes, and for her work at D. Reynolds. “Thank you Mrs. Crouch for being a part of Bedford for so long,” stated Dan Plattus of Bedford Main Street, Inc.
    Plattus also noted parade sponsor, the Bank of the James, for its “continued support of the Bedford Christmas Parade and Bedford Main Street which helps us bring events such as this to Bedford, and to keep Centertown Bedford alive.”
    Members of the Virginia Defense Force joined with Bedford Main Street volunteers, Inman Johnson, Sherran Smiley and Bobby Patterson, to help organize and stage the parade. “We could not have done it without them,” Plattus stated, adding a thank you to Blue Ridge Bagels and Cup A Joe Café for providing volunteers with coffee and snacks.
    The Christmas Parade “Banner Carriers” included Teddy Bond and Jacob Sensenig.
    And of course the parade wouldn’t have been complete without Santa & Mrs. Claus, who completed the parade’s entries in a carriage provided by Marshall Cofer.
    Centertown events continue this weekend with more on the schedule including a host of 2nd Friday events. Santa will be coming to town via fire engine at 5:30 p.m. and mingling with the children in the Centertown Park on the corner of Main & Bridge streets. Feel free to bring an ornament of your own to hang on the tree. 
    At 6 p.m., Santa and Mrs Claus will be lighting the Centertown Christmas Tree and then continuing to mingle and walk around town until 7 p.m., at which time he will be in Santa’s Village at the Bower Center for the Arts on the corner of Bridge Street and Bedford Avenue, next to 309 Winery and the Bedford Library, and across from Dave’s Garage. Santa’s helpers and elves are being provided by Leanne Ashley School of Dance on North Bridge St.
    In the Farmers’ Market, there will be Horse and Carriage rides from 6 until 9 p.m. Tickets will be available in the Bedford Hardware Store, adjacent to the Farmers’ Market on South Bridge Street. There is also a new train exhibit at the Bedford Museum, on East Main Street.
    Friday will also be the last “2nd Friday” of 2011, offering live music, Art Gallery Shows, a new Art Gallery opening “Art of Virginia,” local eateries, and plenty of other activities to do as you explore Centertown Bedford.