At press time the Middleburg Police Department was estimating that an all time record crowd of between 26 and 28 thousand people were present for all or part of this year’s Christmas in Middleburg celebrations.
Police Chief A. J. Panebianco’s calculations were based on widely accepted crowd density standards, cross-referenced with the measured length of the parade round multiplied by a close estimate of the square footage available for standees on both sides of the street along the route.
Santa’s elves came up with much the same numbers using the tried and true North Pole system: counting feet and dividing by two.
The weather was perfect.
Horses and hounds were in fine fettle and out in force.
Santa was welcomed officially to town by yet another extraordinary parade.
Middleburg also showed its true spirit in the face of two incidents that, in other times and places might well have dampened what was otherwise a perfect day.
A photographer fell and was hurt badly enough to require that an ambulance make its way through the crowds.
The parade was delayed as traffic was halted to make way for first responders.
Santa, at the end of the parade, as usual, noticed not one whit less of enthusiasm from the huge crowds who, despite the delay, stayed to greet him.
Later, a Middleburg Police officer, directing traffic at days end, was hit by a motorist who was later accused of driving under the influence.
The officer was evacuated by helicopter, his injuries treated, and by all accounts at press time was doing well.
An event the size of our Christmas celebrations in a town the size of Middleburg is no small undertaking.
Accidents and other unhappy events are, statistically, inevitable.
Our police department, town staff, a host of volunteers, and the tens of thousands of men, women, and children lining the streets all rose to the occasion, stayed calm, and carried on.
There is a tendency in such circumstances to thank one’s lucky stars . . . but luck has little or nothing to do with it.
Great preparation, great responses, and good people (along with a little luck) make all the difference.
Thanks to all for a great and happy day and best wishes to everyone for a Safe and Happy New Year.