Some things in life need to be dependable. Growing up I always heard the old adage, “there are only two things in life that are for sure, death and taxes.” Luckily I have the privilege to live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina where that axiom has been successfully debunked here in Bluffton. For instance, in Bluffton one can always count on a breeze coming off the May River anytime of the year. If one simply orders an ‘iced tea’ in these parts rest assured your beverage will be sugary-sweet. And come the first Saturday of December, residents and those looking to start the holiday season off right (and partake of some old-fashioned, family fun), descend on Old Town for the annual Bluffton Christmas Parade.
This parade, now in its 41styear, ranks right up there with choosing the perfect tree or making gingerbread cookies, in ushering in the holiday season. From humble beginnings all those years ago, the parade has taken off with well over 100 entries and several hundred participants. Even so, 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.
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”.
Parade Day has also coincided with other local events sponsored by Bluffton churches and non-profits. “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 the Methodist Church’s famous Ulmer Bread.
But most of all this parade is for the young – and the young at heart – with smiles all ‘round on the faces of everyone who attends. Youngsters happily catch candy and trinkets thrown by parade walkers and eagerly await the arrival of the Tommy’s Towing trucks and yes, riding atop the last fire truck is that jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus!
Congratulations to the 2012 Bluffton Christmas Parade Winners! May your holidays always be merry and bright!