It was fortunate –  particularly for the high school homecoming queen nominees who rode in open convertibles – that the temperatures rose from flat cold to tolerable by the time First Baptist Church’s annual Community Parade kicked off in Heathsville, Saturday.

A couple hundred onlookers lined the parade route from the YMCA to the old courthouse as more than two dozen marchers, floats, firetrucks, ambulances and decked-out vehicles rolled down Route 360.

If any group outnumbered First Baptist’s numerous ministries entries, it was the schools.

The high school’s Jumior ROTC cadets led the way with the American and state flags. The school’s band, cheerleaders, flag corps and football team followed. The principals of all three schools marched as did the superintendent of schools. School Board Chairman Betty Christopher rode the route in a golf cart. The football team carried a sign warning the Rappahannock Raiders that it was coming. “Rest in Defeat” it read.

Girl Scout Troop 308 marched. Vehicles from the county’s fire departments and rescue squads rolled down the route with lights flashing.

With the parade so close to the November 5 election more politicians might have been expected but only three were in the parade, candidates for Sheriff, Johnny Beauchamp and Peyton Waller and candidate for District 1 Supervisor, Jimmy Brann. Brann rode on a yellow firetruck he has used in his campaign and was dressed in full fireman’s turn-out gear. Brann’s opponent, Incumbent Supervisor Joe Self, didn’t march but watched the parade.

Saturday was graced with beautiful weather for the parade.