It's that time of year, when people give thanks, spend times with family and friends, and the spirit of the holidays takes over. In Virginia, several of the towns around Charlottesville and Richmond host holiday parades, and it will be at these local events that the next phase in the search for missing Metallica fan Morgan Harrington will unfurl.

Harrington has been missing since Oct. 17, when she was separated from friends and went missing from a Metallica concert. She was last seen hitchhiking on a nearby bridge, wearing a Pantera T-shirt, black boots, and a black mini-skirt. She hasn't been heard from since.

This week and weekend, friends of Morgan will be hitting the streets in full force, in an effort to raise awareness to the case, which has been getting national media coverage. They plan to do this at local parades, where thousands gather to celebrate the Christmas season. As part of the effort, Harrington's friends have entered a car in each parade, plastered with Morgan's visage and phone numbers folks can call if they have any information about the case. They will also be walking all of the parade routes, passing out fliers.

"People [in the crowd] are telling us they're praying for Morgan and her family, that they'll display the posters," Morgan's friend Diane Kelly told reporters. Nearly 2,000 posters were handed out at Thursday night's parade. "We're just never going to give up hope and the kids haven't either, they fully expect her to be at their Christmas party."

In a statement, Morgan's parents Dan and Gil Harrington said that the "past few weeks have been particularly trying for our family," but that it's been "the community's continued outpouring of love and support that helps us endure this difficult time each day. Your support has helped lift our spirits when we needed it most."

Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo said in a recent interview that he hopes Morgan is returned safely. "I was crushed," Trujillo said, about learning of Harrington's disappearance; he added that the case has been ever-present on the band members' minds. "Stuff like this just really, really bums me out, especially when you are a parent and you have children. I mean, it's the worst thing that you could ever imagine. And of course, you know, we're all hoping for the best and just praying that she's alive. It really hit a sour chord with us and bummed us out."