Despite bad weather, towns that were able to have parades had great turnout
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Despite the rainy weather this weekend, several of the towns that had parades scheduled for later in the day Sunday were able to have their Christmas events to the delight of the crowds in attendance. Saturday, the rain fell so hard that both Pine Ridge and Swansea had to cancel their holiday parades much to the chagrin of the communities. It looked as if the Sunday events might suffer the same fate, but by mid-afternoon the rain stopped, and both Lexington and later Batesburg-Leesville had successful events.
The clouds were dark and thick, and rain fell on and off right up until the beginning of Lexington’s annual parade that was scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Just as the crowds began to gather, the wet stuff stopped and at one point the sun even peeked through, if only for a few minutes, before quickly ducking back behind the dark clouds again. When the siren of the lead police car sounded, it was dry and stayed that way for the most part for the remainder of the parade that lasted for over an hour.
Anyone and everyone was there and participated in the parade. From beauty queens to politicians and every other type of display and float, there was something for absolutely everyone to enjoy. This year, the Grinch was huge and seemed to be everywhere, taking time out from his hit on the big screen to bless Lexington with a visit. Of course, you can’t have the Grinch without Who’s from Whoville and there were hundreds and hundreds of those of every shape and size. The crowds cheered them on as they danced, sang, or just waved their way down Main Street brightening the day and protecting the crowds from the black hearts of all the Grinches.
The Lexington High School Marching Wildcats led the parade near the front with holiday tunes, and the Timberwolf Marching Pride of White Knoll brought up the rear with many great songs and certainly any that Lexington might have missed. In between, many of the units played music indictive of the season through loudspeakers and various amplifying devices that had everyone singing and tapping their toes. The Lexington Jaycees produce this parade and 2018, like years before, was a grand-slam home run!
Batesburg-Leesville’s parade is held just after dark and comes down East Columbia Avenue, turns down Main Street, and ends at Midlands Technical College. It was led by Police Chief Wallace Oswald whose car was decorated for the occasion with garland from the grill to the back bumper. He was followed closely by the JROTC unit from Batesburg-Leesville High School. Afterward, one of the pumpers from the Batesburg-Leesville Fire Department needed no additional decorations as its red-lights were festive enough for it and then some.
Businesses, churches, politicians, and beauty queens joined in here too. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon and his family had appeared in a bomb truck in Lexington, but somehow had swapped rides by Batesburg-Leesville, appearing in one of the department’s boats pulled by a pickup that lit up the night with blue lights on every corner and across the top.
After the parade, the official tree lighting took place in College Park. Kids could have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, sip hot chocolate, and do all sorts of fun things. There was entertainment on the stage and across the park as everyone from the Chamber of Commerce, the town, the business community, and other organizations chipped in to make it a memorable night.
Although the rain tried to dampen the start of the season, holiday cheer could not be deterred. Both events were absolutely great, and if the weather cooperates throughout the week, there are many more on the way in the coming days.