Despite a pandemic that has canceled many fun times, the Town of Kingstree and the Williamsburg HomeTown Chamber will go forward with the Christmas Parade. The parade, which is followed by lots of family fun was encouraged by the merchants, who in the past have enjoyed the annual Holiday Open House.
Chamber Director Martha Burrows says the theme follows the Macy’s Day Parade tradition. “The Macy’s Day Parade celebrates things all throughout the year,” said Burrows. “You can have a lot of freedom with your floats and that makes it a little easier to decorate or get people excited to do things.”
Kingstree Christmas Parade Committee member Pam Tisdale added that because the pandemic canceled so many events, they felt it was much needed. “We want to celebrate everything at one time since we have not a chance to do that,” she said. Though the annual event always draws a crowd, Tisdale says this year, attendants will be asked to follow social distancing guidelines. “We want everybody to be safe of course. If you don’t feel safe then stay home but we want everyone to come and participate.”
The parade will take place Sunday, November 22, at 2 p.m. and start at Anderson Brother’s Bank (the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Thurgood Marshall Hwy.) then head south along Main Street. Candy may be handed out by participants walking along the parade but will not be thrown from a moving vehicle. Alvin Chambers, director of Planning and Development for the town said due to the COVID-19 Virus local school bands, JROTC units, Kings and Queens, and other school organizations will not be present. He added the local National Guard Unit are also on deployment but the response has been great for others wishing to participate in the parade. “Expect to see floats, dancers, local state, town and county officials, clowns, Shriners, and other entertaining units,” said Chambers. “There will be judging of the prettiest and ugliest floats.”
Tisdale said the Grand Marshall will be representatives of the Williamsburg Regional Hospital. “We really want to highlight those that are on the frontlines, the nurses, the first responders, the doctors,” she said. The reversal of the direction of the parade is designed to end at the Kingstree Library on North Jackson Street so everyone will be in the downtown area. “We’re expecting a big parade this year and we would like everything to finalize in the downtown area to encourage everyone to take advantage of the other activities,” she said. “Our main goal is to highlight our town and to highlight our downtown area as well. We’re really thankful this year that God has kept Kingstree. It could have been so much worse.”
Anyone interested in entering a float can contact the Town of Kingstree at (843) 355-7484 or (843) 355-8156. There is no fee to participate in the parade but you must complete a form by November 19.
Following the parade there will be family activities such as dancing and pictures with Santa on Academy Street, Letters with Santa at Williamsburg Feed and Tack, and ornament making at Vice Outdoors. There will even be an ice-skating rink in the municipal parking lot.
On Saturday, the day before the parade, the skating rink will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and a tree lighting ceremony will be held on Academy Street at 6:15 p.m. Pick up a copy of The News for a schedule of events or call the Chamber at (843) 355-6431.