If it's not yet beginning to look a lot like Christmas, just wait till Saturday, when Christmas parades take to the streets in Leesburg, Marshall, Middleburg and Warrenton. In Warrenton, the parade begins at 10 a.m. on Main Street. Santa Claus will visit with children after the parade. For information, call 540-349-2407. In Marshall, the parade begins at noon on Main Street and will include floats and, to close the show, a horse-drawn carriage. Paraders include local students and Scouts and local dignitaries. For information, call 540-364-1796. The Middleburg parade begins at 3 p.m. on Washington Street, but it's preceded by the Middleburg Hunt riding through town at 11 a.m., followed by hayrides from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., leaving from the Pink Box Visitors Center on Madison Street. For information, call 540-687-8888. Nightfall heralds the start of Leesburg's parade, which begins at 7 p.m. on King Street. In the afternoon, the town will close off Market and King streets downtown and, from 5 to 8:30, offer carriage rides, pictures with Santa and live holiday music and, at 6, a tree-lighting ceremony on the Town Green, 25 W. Market St. For information, call 703-737-1368.


This weekend the Alternative Gift Fair in Leesburg offers a less-hectic approach to holiday shopping. At Belmont Ridge Middle School, shoppers can "buy" charitable donations, such as $25 to provide grocery pickup and delivery to seniors, to send a needy child on a special outing or to buy prescription medicine for someone acutely ill. Nine charities, all based in Loudoun and focused on the county's needy, will benefit from the fair. People can also get a free photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, 19045 Upper Belmont Pl., 703-779-3616 or

In an annual holiday tradition, members of the Middleburg Hunt in full regalia parade down Washington Street with their hounds.