Ah, the small town parade: marching bands, beauty queens, brownie troops, cub scout packs, baton twirlers, fire trucks, classic cars. It’s just like any big city parade, only smaller. As it turns out, the annual Bluffton Christmas parade is really anything but small. It was estimated that several thousand folks descend on Old Town to watch the parade. Leave it to a small town parade to bring out a wonderful sense of place, a feeling of community pride and give everyone the perfect reason to start the holiday season off right!
The Bluffton Christmas parade, now in its 42nd year, is always held the first Saturday in December (Dec. 7th starting at 11 am) and follows a path through the moss-draped streets of Old Town starting at Town Hall Calhoun, turning down Calhoun Street and onto May River Road. From humble beginnings all those years ago, the parade has taken off with well over 100 entries and several hundred participants.
The parade has been called “quirky”, “eccentric” and “irrepressible” – absolutely fitting for the town of Bluffton. In years past, entries have included the “Ladies Drill Team” – a group of local women, working their synchronized magic with color-coordinated battery powered drills. And this year another group of women who live in Belfair donned wings and clutched wands as the spritely “Belfairies”. Just run out of Halloween candy? Have no fear, because kids in the know are ready to scramble to catch the abundance of candy tossed by those riding the crepe paper festooned fleet of floats.
The homey, feel-good vibe is ever present as local elementary, middle and high school musicians and a variety of businesses, non-profits and “just plain” fun loving folks pull out all the stops to get their neighbors and visitors alike, into a festive spirit. Shops & restaurants get into the spirit too, with gorgeous holiday decorations sure to put every shopper in a merry mood. Be sure to save time to visit and browse the shops and restaurants located along the parade route.
To start off this busy weekend in Bluffton, there is also the Light up the Night in Old Town Bluffton that includes a Christmas Tree Lighting, the Holly Jolly Trolley, shopping, refreshments on Friday, Dec. 6 from 3 – 8 pm. Throughout the day “previously enjoyed” books are available for sale by the Friends of the Library and those in the know arrive early to pick up a loaf or two of the Methodist Church’s famous Ulmer Bread.
Congratulations to last year’s Bluffton Christmas Parade Winners:
•Best Performance – Bluffton School of Dance
•Best Float – Cahill’s Market
•Judge’s Choice – Boys & Girls Club
•Bluffton State of Mind – Habitat for Humanity
•Fan Favorite (online voting) – Bluffton Bobcat Marching Band
Event Details: Bluffton Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 7 at 11 am
Note that parking can be limited due to the parade route, so arrive early to find a good viewing spot!