VINTON–The day before Easter this year, the Vinton War Memorial, along with Vinton Baptist, Vertical Church, and Vertical Kids will be hosting a community Easter Egg Hunt on the grounds of the Vinton War Memorial—reviving a tradition from years past. Another Easter tradition in Vinton in the 1990’s was the Easter Parade. The traditional Easter Sunrise Services in Vinton were once held at the War Memorial at 6:30 a.m.
Mary Beth Layman, Vinton’s Special Programs Director, describes the Easter parades as “simple and sweet, mostly a children’s parade with bikes, tricycles, and strollers.” The custom was for those celebrating Easter to walk from Vinton Baptist down Lee Avenue to the Farmers’ Market.
Layman says there was an Easter Bunny for photo ops. His costume was made by a local seamstress. He had interchangeable ears so that he could also be a Teddy Bear at other special events during the year.
In the 1994 parade there was a Bunny-hop Parade at 10:30, followed by a free hot dog lunch with the Easter Bunny.
Children could pick up a free prize egg at the Dogwood Restaurant and hunt for Easter Eggs at Vinyard Park—an event then sponsored by Roanoke County Parks and Recreation.
Children were encouraged to dress in costumes and decorate their bicycles, Big Wheels, and skateboards.
There were prizes and free kazoos. Some years they filled Easter baskets with goodies at the church and then paraded to the market.
For several years the parades and other festivities were sponsored by the Vinton Association of Merchants and Professionals. Children could pick up a picture to color and return it to the store or the Farmers’ Market after the parade to qualify for grand prizes.