News & Politics

Hit the Pavement: A Guide to Thanksgiving Parades, Races, and Trots

Want to kick back roadside and watch the balloons and floats go by? We’ve got a list of parades for you. Looking to lace up your Reeboks and burn off a few calories from that oh-so-good pumpkin pie? We’ll help you with that, too.

>> Thanksgiving Guide


The Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade. Kick off the holiday week on Saturday, November 21, in downtown Silver Spring. Watch as the Washington Redskins marching band, Macy’s-style helium balloons, beauty queens, classic cars, antique fire engines, and variety of other floats march north on Georgia Avenue from Sligo Avenue to Ellsworth Drive. Santa is expected to blow in from the North Pole. There’s free parking downtown, but we suggest taking Metro to the Silver Spring stop—the parade is only a couple blocks away. It gets started at 9:30. For more information, click here.

Reston Town Center’s Holiday Parade. On the day after Thanksgiving, November 27, check out Reston’s 19th annual holiday parade, which gets underway at 11. Santa and Mrs. Claus, who’ll be riding in a Clydesdale-horse-drawn carriage, will be accompanied by larger-than-life helium balloons, marching bands, swing dancers, antique cars, jesters, and more. The hourlong procession will march down Market Street, starting at the west end. There are six parking garages nearby, and they’re all free. Stick around for portraits with Santa from 12:30 to 4:30, a holiday-tree lighting at 6, and horse-drawn-carriage rides from 6:30 to 10. For more information, click here.


DC Turkey Trot for Hunger. In the spirit of giving, join honorary chair and DC mayor Adrian Fenty for the eighth annual Trot for Hunger race on November 26. All proceeds will go to So Others Might Eat, a nearly 40-year-old nonprofit that works to meet the basic needs of homeless citizens. Race participants can register as individuals or join a team. Runners should meet at Ohio Drive, Southwest, between Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive for the 8:30 5K timed race, and participants in the 5K fun walk should meet at the same place at 8:40. This year there’ll be a one-mile Little Turkey Fun Run at 8 AM for children. The course takes runners and walkers along the river in West Potomac Park. Registration is $23 per person until November 16, $25 from November 17 to 21. For more information, click here.


Alexandria Turkey Trot. On November 26, lace your sneakers for the 5-mile Turkey Trot in Alexandria, sponsored by the DC Road Runners and the Del Ray Business Association. Registration online will be held until midnight on November 23, and costs $5 for runners 12 and under, $15 for runners ages 13 to 21, and $20 for runners 22 and over. Anyone who registers the day of the race (8:30 to 9:30) will have to pay an additional $5. The race starts at 10 at the Cora Kelly Rec Center (25 W. Reed Ave., Alexandria). The top three finishers will split $1,000 in prize money, and runners are asked to make monetary or canned-food donations to the nonprofit organization Alive!, which serves Alexandria’s needy. If you become a course record breaker, you’ll receive an additional $100. For more information, click here.

Freeze Your Gizzard race. This Leesburg race, held on November 21, gives runners a chance to explore the 138-acre Ida Lee Park, where participants can choose a 5K run, which starts at 9 or a 1-mile fun run, which starts at 9:15. Participants are asked to bring two canned-food products for Loudoun Interfaith, the largest food pantry in Loudoun County. The winners of the 5K race in each age bracket get a seven- to eight-pound turkey, second-place runners receive a gift card, and third-place winners get a pumpkin pie. The overall male and female winners get a gift certificate to Tuscarora Mill restaurant. To register, click here.

Belle Haven Cranberry Crawl. On November 21 at 8:30, the Potomac Valley Track Club will host its 5K and 10K run and fun walk at Belle Haven Park. The top three winners in each age group will take home cranberry bread. You can register at 7:30 on the day of the race for $10 at the Belle Haven Shell gas station (1201 Belle Haven Dr.) or in advance online. For more information and to preregister, click here.
Virginia Run Turkey Trot 5K & Fun Walk. In its 21st year, this annual Centreville event held on Thanksgiving morning includes 2K and 5K runs. Both events start and finish on Pleasant Valley Road, just south of the intersection with Eagle Tavern Way—the 5K runners set off at 8; 2K participants right after that. While you can sign up for the shorter event on the day of the race, registration for the 5K ends November 23 at 4. Prizes go to the top three males and females. All proceeds go to Virginia’s Life with Cancer, an organization that works to increase cancer research and support in the community. For more information and to register, click here.

Herndon Turkey Trot. Don’t want to buy your own turkey this year? Start prepping for the Herndon Turkey Trot instead—if you come in first place, you’ll win one with all the trimmings. The race will be held on November 21 at 4; race-day registration begins at 1:30 at the Herndon Community Center. Pre-registration is $15 and a can for food for donation, and race-day registration is $20 and a can of food. While you’re scrambling through your cupboard for canned goods, take a look inside your closet for old sneakers, which will be collected now until the day of the race for the Reuse-A-Shoe program, a partnership between Nike and the Herndon Community Center. For more information and to register, click here.

Richmond Turkey Trot. With a limit of 1,000 participants, this 10K race, sponsored by the Richmond Road Runners, sells out quicker than you can say “ready, set, go”—so register soon. The hilly course winds around the University or Richmond campus. The top three winners will receive gift certificates. Peanut butter and cans of tuna will be collected for the Virginia Food Bank. November 26; 9 AM. There’ll be a kid’s race at 8:30, which is free, but registration is required. For more information, click here. To register, click here.


YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Chase. Animal lovers, rest easy—there’s no live-turkey chasing at this staple Bethesda run. Rather, a volunteer dresses up in a mascot costume, waving and pumping up the crowd from a convertible. On November 26, runners can participate in either the 10K run at 8:30 or the 2-mile fun run at 8:50. Both races will start at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA (9401 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda). When you register, cast a vote for one of Bethesda’s six high schools; the winning public school gets $1,000, and the winning private school receives $500. For more information, fees, and to register, click here.

Green Valley North Turkey Trot. This annual turkey trot, now in its 26th year, benefits Crohn’s and Colitis research at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. On Thanksgiving morning, participants can choose a 5-mile run or a 3-mile walk through the Green Valley North countryside—the course begins and ends at 12109 Ridge Valley Drive. On race day from 8 to 8:45, participants can register and make donations. Then, warm up with a certified aerobics instructor before setting off at 9. After crossing the finish line, celebrate with breakfast, door prizes and special appearances by Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, WBAL-TV chief meteorologist Tom Tasselmyer, and WBAL radio’s Detour Dave. For more information, click here.

Way Station’s Turkey Trot. Take part in either a 5K run or a 1K fun run/walk on Thanksgiving Day. The fee for the shorter race, which begins at 8, is $7 for all ages, and the longer race, which starts at 8:30 is $20 for students under 18 and $25 for adults. Proceeds will benefit Way Station, a Frederick-based nonprofit mental-health-services organization. Runners start and finish near the intersection of West Second and North Bentz streets in Frederick. For more information, click here.

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