Not Your Usual Memorial Day Parade : Knights in TrainingThe little city of Falls Church, Va., sandwiched between Arlington and Fairfax counties five miles west of D.C., has held a Memorial Day parade almost every year since the 1950s.
The little city of Falls Church, Va., sandwiched between Arlington and Fairfax counties five miles west of D.C., has held a Memorial Day parade almost every year since the 1950s.
It's not your usual Memorial Day parade — nary a high school marching band (the city's too small), only a couple VFW drill teams, a fairly big contingent of Shriners in mini-cars, and mainly, lots of cultural and ethnic groups from around the area.
Then there's the Westsider Marching Band, which buses down from Baltimore every year. As the Westsiders grow in popularity, they get moved further back in the parade order. This year they were almost at the end.
And here they are.
— Peter Overby
The Westsiders arrived in the D.C. suburb of Falls Church, Va., at 2 p.m. The small city's Memorial Day parade was already starting, but the Westsiders was one of the last units in the marching order.
Band Director Corlis Greene supervised the unloading of pompoms and drums.
The Falls Church parade, which began decades ago so veterans could march and local volunteer fire departments could show off their equipment, is now a pot pourri of cultures. The Westsiders are one of Baltimore's community bands. The organization has been around for decades, and any young person can join.
The Westsiders travel from New York to New Orleans for parades. They assembled in their marching space, just ahead of a group of Peruvian dancers.
Dancers practiced their moves...
... and the Westsiders stepped off down Lincoln Avenue.
Director Corlis Greene leads the band. She's 52, and first marched as a Westsider at age 8.
These days the Westsiders isn't actually a full band, more of a drum section plus dancers and pompom girls.
But with or without other instruments, it's been one of the most popular units in the parade for 15 years.
The Falls Church parade goes barely a mile down Park Avenue, to a reviewing stand at City Hall. That's where the Westsiders halted and put on their show.
Everyone shook it on down, Corlis Greene included...
... And with a Left-Face and thundering drums, the Westsiders marched off the parade route.