The Loris Chamber of Commerce and city employees worked diligently preparing for the 2018 Loris Christmas parade that was held on Friday, Nov. 30, beginning at 4 p.m.
To begin the festivities Santa and Mrs. Claus were ready and waiting to visit with children of all ages to listen to their Christmas wish lists at the Courtyard on Main in front of the Christmas tree. Individuals and groups sang carols to put the visitors in the Christmas spirit; speakers were set up on the poles along Main Street for everyone to hear the beautiful music. Ricky Dew’s Sugar Shack was selling cotton candy and popcorn.
At 6 p.m. Banana Jack Murphy introduced Mayor Henry Nichols who welcomed and thanked everyone for attending the festivities and enjoying the music and pre-parade activities. He said, “Remember the reason for the season, this is Christmas a time to celebrate Christ’s birth.” As he told the crowd to enjoy the parade he was given the honor to light the tree which was followed by ooh’s and aah’s of all who watched the darkened tree light up with bright white lights.
As the parade began the streets were lined with people of all ages anxiously awaiting the bright lights, the band, floats and trucks rolling down Main Street. The Loris High School Marching Band played several Christmas tunes as they marched the street. Big trucks promoting their businesses rolled through the crowd. Floats from local churches had children and adults waving to the spectators shouting out “Merry Christmas”. The festival queens from Loris, Aynor, Columbus County and Tabor City rode in vehicles from pick-up trucks to convertibles giving the princess wave to the spectators. There were motorcycles, towing trucks, the fire engine from Fair Bluff and ending the parade was Santa and Mrs. Claus waving to the crowd from the bucket on the Loris Fire Department ladder truck.
As requested by the Loris Chamber of Commerce participants were asked not to throw or toss candy to the crowds. Samantha Norris said, “We asked if they want to give candy, someone can walk along side the float or vehicle and hand candy to the children.” There were some participants in the parade that did toss candy, where a child ran into the street to grab candy near missing the rolling back tire of a tow truck.
The golf cart drivers stopped to give candy to children and then travel a little further up the road stopping again to give out candy. Another participant had three ladies walking on each side of their float handing candy to the children. Norris said, “We are looking at the safety of the children by not throwing candy, the children don’t know better than to run into the street to gather candy from the pavement.” Could a fine be in store for future parades? We will have to see what the chamber decides.
The parade route changed this year to give others a chance to see the parade, especially the residents of McLeod Loris Rehabilitation Center who were sitting in a parking lot to watch the parade as it traveled down Casey Street. The parade came down Main Street from Loris First Baptist Church, turned right at Broad Street, turned another right at Subway and proceeded to Casey Street making its way back to the church.
There were many compliments from the residents in Loris regarding the parade route change; it gave people the opportunity to see the beautiful floats and bright lights from their home. Another successful parade in Loris with 85 participants provided cheer and happy smiles to the faces of all who watched from the sidewalks.