Chapin Labor Day Parade & Festival proves they truly are a “Community of Unity”
Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – Thousands of people trekked to Chapin Monday for the town’s annual Labor Day Parade & Festival. This year’s theme, a “Community of Unity” was evident from start to finish, parade to pack up, as folks braved the heat for a great time in the self-proclaimed, “Capital of Lake Murray.” The community and its visitors were certainly unified in purpose; they were all there to enjoy a beautiful morning in a beautiful town surrounded by great people.
The morning kicked off with a parade that seemed to snake right through the heart of the town forever. There were so many units that the head was back to the tail by the time the horses, always the last unit, went by.
Everyone who was anyone was there from the Boy Scouts to the Chapin High School State Champion Cheerleaders, and just about every business in the area. Dr. Akil Ross, the former principal of Chapin high School and a multi-award winner himself, was the parade’s Grand Marshal this year and true to form, he wore his Chapin blue and white while leading the procession. Even though the parade began at the parking lot of GIS and disbanded on St. Peters Church Road, a distance of what must be nearly a mile, there was still the need for spectators to stand three and four deep at points to get a view of the passing splendor. Each unit had its own distinct decorations, colors, and in some cases, music. There were people giving out everything from candy to cold drinks and ice-pops, and even some t-shirts, pens, and full-size and mini frisbees. Young and old alike left with bags full of goodies and had stickers from both Republicans and Democrats stuck on their chest, backs, and everywhere else. Some youngsters looked like walking billboards for political campaigns and for people who I’m sure they don’t know and have no idea what they do, but that was okay, they liked the stickers and that was what was important!
This parade is a must attend event for those running for office. This year Governor Henry McMaster was there, as was a healthy crew who had joined to support his opponent Democrat James Smith. Congressman Joe Wilson and his team had an army of young Republicans walking the parade and of course, the Democrat challenger Sean Carrigan did too. Secretary of State Mark Hammond was in attendance as was State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, and that’s just a partial list I assure you. The school board candidates were a parade themselves. Chapin’s complete town government held down one of the lead floats doing their best beauty queen waves, and Sheriff Koon and his wife were absolutely the safest folks there; They were riding inside the county’s bomb-proof truck!
The weather was hot, just a slight breeze blew, but that didn’t deter anyone’s spirits in the least. Even after the parade was over and the temperature was still climbing, there was lots to do. You could stroll through and check out the huge car show that featured tons of beautiful cars, trucks, and every other type of motorized treasures. Perhaps you were hungry? If so, you could grab a bite to eat, while perusing any number of vendors tables to learn more about a little of everything, or to simply buy some arts, crafts, or various other things you just, “had to have,” but didn’t know it until you saw it there.
There were characters of all types for the kids to hug and pose with. Even Chapin’s former mayor Stan Shealy got into the action here dressing in some sort of bear costume, so the kiddies would have one other cute-and-cuddly to pose for pictures with. Shealy is one of the principals in The Chapin Media Group, but on Monday, he took time out from his reporter duties for the sake of the community’s kids.
To say the least, this is one of the best organized, most enjoyable public events put on in our state. In the nearly 40 years it has been in existence, it has grown to legendary status and joins other Lexington County events like the annual Lexington County Peach Festival in Gilbert, and the upcoming Okra Strut in Irmo as a primo festival full of family entertainment.
The town’s spokesperson, Nicholle Burroughs, one of the event’s key organizers, said Monday, “The number of volunteers that we’ve had working to pull this into the event you see today has been amazing. Everyone really comes together and once again showcased what a beautiful town Chapin and its surrounding community is. It truly is a Community of Unity!”