Murrells Inlet Christmas Parade
Tailgating at this parade is a must.
Trucks and cars line the street with their truck beds holding coolers and folding chairs and blankets line up next to the painted white line on the road. Small fires are lit in portable fire pits, and some grills heat food. Red solo cups circulate and red Santa hats are worn by adults and some dogs wear their Christmas sweaters.
Hannah, my six-year-old daughter, and I brought our own version of parade tailgating food: donut holes and hot cocoa. We set our blanket up on a grassy place next to Business 17 in Murrells Inlet. Hannah brought a coloring book and crayons to occupy her while we waited for the parade to begin.
This year was my eighth year attending the Murrells Inlet Christmas parade. Each year I have found it to be entertaining, surprising, and exciting as the Shriners drive their mini cars in fast circles, local high school bands march, horses prance, snow machines blow snow at us, loads of candy are thrown at us, and businesses represented in the parade hand out coupons, stuffed animals, Frisbees, and even bags of fresh shrimp one year! You never know what to expect!
This year began with the customary police vehicles and cheerful parade participants waving and shouting “Merry Christmas!” A small remote controlled boat rolled along the road and stopped in front of children and talked to them, mystifying them. Home Depot handed out small plastic craft boards and beach balls, we received home-baked chocolate chip cookies, Mary-Kay make-up samples and coupons, koozies, a bag of popcorn, free roller-skating coupons, and quite a lot of candy. However, we usually leave with a grocery bag filled with candy and this year only Hannah’s winter hat was filled with candy. Some of the parade participants told us as they walked by that they couldn’t throw candy this year, but there were people walking beside their floats handing pieces of candy out. One float sprayed silly string at us! Floats rolled by with music blaring, classic cars were driven, St. James High School’s band marched, and a 13-seated bicycle pedaled past us too! Noticeably missing were the Shriners mini cars and quite a few cars/floats that usually participate each year. The parade ended with Santa Claus arriving in a Murrells Inlet fire engine. The parade lasted about 30 minutes.
Hannah and I, as well as most of the other tailgaters around us, stayed in our spots by the side of the road and finished eating our candy or drinking hot cocoa or “hot cocoa” in red solo cups. Hannah and I ate our chocolate chip cookies and popcorn. We packed our blanket up and took our parade loot to the van.
This year the parade did not end with a tree lighting at the Hot Fish Club nor a meet-and-greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the nearby park. Something we always looked forward to. But we did follow Santa’s fire engine to the Hot Fish Club and Hannah played on their wooden swing set for a bit with about seven other children. The night didn’t end with the magic in the park we were used to, but we still were able to start our Christmas season with the tradition of the Murrells Inlet Christmas parade!