UNION — Thursday evening was a time of lights, music, excitement, joy, and candy as the Union Christmas Parade made its way down Main Street to the delight of the children and adults that lined the street.
The Union Christmas Parade was different from the Christmas parades in other local communities this year as it was held after dark rather than during the day.
As a result, the parade, which began near the Union County YMCA and continued on to the Union County Courthouse, was a parade of light as well as floats, fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles, cars carrying beauty queens and local officials, and a marching band. The lights on the floats and the fire trucks and other vehicles were matched by the Christmas lights that lined Main Street.
Even though it was cold, that didn’t a prevent a large turnout of adults and children who bundled up against the elements to enjoy the parade and, of course, collect the candy that was tossed out from the cars, trucks, and floats that formed the parade.
And lets not forget, the Union Christmas Parade was the fourth time in the past two weeks that Santa Claus took time out from his busy schedule at the North Pole to come to Union County and take part in a local Christmas parade.
(Santa will make his final pre-Christmas trip to take part in a parade today when he takes part in the Carlisle Christmas Parade which will be held at 2 p.m.)
Union County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Torance Inman said that Thursday’s parade was a success and issued the following statement Friday describing it.
“There was great excitement in downtown Union Thursday evening as it celebrated its annual Christmas Parade,” Inman said. “The floats and cars were decorated with garland and lights, with children waving and showing off the beautiful faces topped with crowns. Floats were decorated with all manner of bright things displaying symbols of the season and announced the birth of Christ.”
Thursday’s parade also featured a contest for the best floats and Inman said the winners were the “Polar Bear Express” float which won first place; the Twist N’ Shout float which won second place; and the Tabernacle Baptist Church float which won third place.
The Union County High School Football Team, cheerleaders, and coaching staff collectively served as parade marshall and Inman congratulated them and the other groups that participated in the parade.
“Our local fire departments and public officials led the way, with the coaches, players and cheerleaders of the Union County High School football team as the parade marshalls,” Inman said. “The Union County High School JROTC and Sting Machine also added to the celebration. Many local businesses, civic groups and churches took the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”
Inman said that the large turnout also contributed to the festive nature of the event and even proved an apparent boon to local businesses.
“Main Street was lined on both sides with spectators, and at one home there was a ‘tailgating’ of sorts with people gathered around an open fire, staying warm and enjoying the parade,” Inman said. “It also appeared that the parade made everyone hungry because, after it was over, just about every eating establishment in Union was packed. All in all, it was a great small town Christmas parade.”
Inman also offered a very special thank you to the organizations that ensured the evening went smoothly and safely.
“A special thanks to the Southside Fire Department for once again providing a very safe and orderly lineup and flow for the event,” Inman said. “Southside Fire Department always does an excellent job, but even more so this year due to the changes in the event.
“Also, thank you to the City of Union Public Safety Department for providing the additional manpower needed.” he said. “Just about everybody got involved is some way including the Union County Detention Center. They helped by providing some reflector vests for our parade judges, giving them an added measure of safety.”
Inman concluded by saying “it’s refreshing to see a community like Union come together and collectively say ‘Merry Christmas to all.’
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.