Christmas came to life Friday in uptown Loris
With the afternoon rainfall on Friday, Dec. 6, there was a gloom of doubt the Christmas activities will be delayed or cancelled. However, the Facebook announcement made by the city of Loris and the Loris Chamber of Commerce stated rain or shine the parade will go on as planned. Beginning at 4 p.m. live entertainment was provided filling the air with the sounds of Christmas songs. The gentle rain did not deter families and friends from gathering at the Courtyard on Main to see the 30 foot live Christmas tree, decorations and anxiously await the traditional lighting of the tree and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
A long line formed at 5 p.m. to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him the list of gifts they wish for Christmas this year. Santa and Mrs. Claus leaned in to listen to the voices of children of all ages express their excitement for Christmas Eve’s visit. Dew’s Sugar Shack sold popcorn, cotton candy and funnel cakes as people gathered to watch the parade. On Railroad Avenue near the town clock were food vendors. Also at the clock is a giant sleigh with bows and bobbles for family photos and memories to make.
The tree lighting ceremony began at 6 p.m. Visitors gathered at the Courtyard on Main as Mayor Todd Harrelson welcomed the crowd to the 2019 Christmas festivities. “We have a tremendous crowd here tonight,” said Harrelson; it is true, it was one of the largest crowds to gather to see the parade in the last few years.
Harrelson stated that the rain did not dampen the spirits of visitors. He said, “It’s exciting, we’ve got the biggest Christmas tree we’ve ever had,” he continued, “It’s 30 feet tall and proud of it and proud of the lights and I hear a lot of positives.” He thanked everyone for attending the festivities.
Harrelson announced that he is going to count to three and asked everyone to say Merry Christmas; he wanted bigger and louder shouts and counted three times with louder and merrier greetings. The last count the lights on the tree were lit with many oohs and aahs from the crowd. Harrelson said, “We are really excited about Christmas, but we do know that Christmas comes around the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, and that’s the most important part of Christmas to us.” A prayer was offered by the new pastor of the First Assembly of God.
The parade began with LPD Chief Gary Buley with his son riding along waving to the crowd, followed by the Loris High School J.R.R.O.T.C. and the Loris Lions Marching Band playing Christmas tunes. Local businesses, Loris Bog-Off Festival queens, the Loris recreation 7 & 8U and 9 & 10U, cheerleaders and more marched and rode down Main Street under the glow of the swag lights strung above waving to the crowd and tossing candy to the little children.
Also in the parade were first responders, Loris Volunteer Fire, Horry County Fire and Rescue, Horry County Police and Sheriffs drove their cruisers in the parade. Yet, there were a few of the furry green guy who steals Christmas from the people of Whoville, yes, it is the Grinch, big green and mean. To make up for the grumpy old soul were the two of the most welcome of all, Santa and Mrs. Claus closed the parade with waves from the Loris Fire Department ladder truck, waving at the children from high above with the swag lights imitating glistening starts as they brought up the end of the parade.
With that the crowd dispersed with tired little one’s being carried to their cars. Samantha Norris said she felt people came out even with the rain to enjoy the festivities. She appreciates the help from volunteers, the city and the chamber staff. Watch for more fun events to come as the results of the hard work put into preparing for this celebration that did bring people uptown to join in the fun. There is a possibility of another festival at the end of the year; keep an eye on the Loris Chamber of Commerce and the city of Loris Facebook pages for big announcements.