December 2009

Bluffton Christmas Parade

Author: Courtney Hampson Naughton

What started last year as my family’s annual ritual to the Bluffton Christmas Parade ended with a muddied shoe and a bruised ego. That’s the day I fell into a drainage ditch along May River Road. Now, I didn’t take a header straight into a pile of muck and mud. No, I teetered precariously along the edge as I trekked from the Promenade to “our spot” at the Squat & Gobble corner.

You see, last December there were no sidewalks along that stretch of road. So I stepped over dogs, strollers, lawn chairs and a small child or two (lest someone move out of the way and find themselves in the ditch)—all jammed along the roadside with nowhere to go, but down. Then, one obstacle proved too much for me, and my right foot began the slide down, down, down. And there I was—left foot firmly planted on level ground about 18 inches higher than right foot, which was nestled cozily in the mud. It was then that I faced the age-old dilemma: save myself, or save my coffee? I chose the coffee and called upon every muscle in my left leg to right myself. Thankfully, I was one of the fortunate ones and back on two feet in no time.

Before you head out to Bluffton’s Annual Christmas Parade this year, rest assured that you will not face that same humiliation, thanks to a little something called the Bluffton Streetscape Project. This two million dollar endeavor is nearly finished and once complete will have improved approximately 1.5 miles of Highway 46 (May River Road) through Old Town from Stock Farm Road to Burnt Church Road. The result? Spanking new hardscaped sidewalk areas and on-street parking, designed to improve the appearance of the downtown area, while also increasing safety for pedestrians (sweet relief!).

So, the good news is that if—and by if, I mean you better—attend this year’s Christmas Parade, you can wear your best shoes and see the best of Bluffton in all of its quirky glory. The parade capitalizes on the oodles of eccentricity that our little town has to offer.

A quick chat with Tammy Malone, who manages the festivities for the Town, confirmed that this year’s parade-goers will once again be entertained. The elementary school bands will perform—not always in tune and not always in unison, but damn those kids are cute. The Shriners will come via pirate ship, donning eye patches and swords and bringing tidings of “Merry Christmas, matey.” Tommy’s Towing and his 11 (that may be an exaggeration, but it’s a lot) tow trucks will run the parade route. The women of Belfair, the “Belfairies,” will flit and float. And this year they’ll have some competition with the entry of the “Rosebuds” from Rose Hill. On a more serious note, the Marine Corps band has never failed to bring a tear to my eye, and the arrival of Santa via the Bluffton Fire Department signals the true start of the holiday season. If local flavor is what you seek, the Bluffton Christmas Parade will certainly satisfy your search for sass.

If you go:
Saturday, December 5, at 11:00 a.m.
Old Town Bluffton
No on-street parking on May River Road that day, so arrive early to find a

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