Rain threatened to ruin the North Myrtle Beach Christmas parade, but flying candy and an indomitable optimistic spirit, from the viewers and the participants, saved the day, judging from the reactions.
The parade, held at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street in the Ocean Drive section last Saturday, started in a steady rain and it stayed that way two-thirds of the time, until the drops abruptly ceased. Less people than usual lined the parade route, observers said, but it was still populated with groups of people who refused to let the weather be a deterrent, wearing rain jackets and toting umbrellas.
Umbrellas actually provided an unforeseen advantage, evident immediately by the arrival of the third entry, the city of North Myrtle Beach’s float featuring South Carolina’s best volleyball players, the North Myrtle Beach Chiefs women’s squad, fresh off their state win in Class 4A. Athletes used to spiking and sending kills across the net swung their arms around, high over their head, and launched an avalanche of candy. (The players were probably unaware of their power as they shouted “Merry Christmas.”). Wrapped candy rained down on umbrellas and bounced on the wet, glistening streets, waking everyone up. Adults and children hustled into the road, bending over to grab the goodies, and the mood lifted.
The flying-sometimes pelting-candy continued, emitted from those on or in seasonally-decorated floats, vans with lights on them advertising local businesses and causes, even well-decorated golf carts. Those not throwing candy from their entries had ambassadors along the parade route, handing out wrapped sweets from clear plastic buckets.
There were a slim few who had no offerings that had come to be expected. Meteorologist local legend Ed Piotrowski, driving the WPDE news van, was even chastised by a parade-watcher: “Where’s your candy?”
“I don’t have any,” he shouted back smiling. “Besides, it’s bad for you.”
Tell that to the children who came prepared with grocery store bags, totes and even in at least one case, a deep Halloween container, running off the curb to get little packets of brand-name, individually wrapped chocolates, sour candies, peppermints, gumballs and candy canes.