November 2013

Bluffton Christmas Parade: Comedy, Community and Candy

Author: Debbie Szpanka

For many people who live in and near Bluffton, the first Saturday of December, around 11 a.m. is the most magical time of the year. For nearly 50 years, Blufftonians and their guests have lined the streets of Old Town to cheer their neighbors, laugh at the eccentric and eclectic entertainment and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season.

Between the personalities, the float presentations and the parties, the Bluffton Christmas Parade is an event which could give any Southern author enough fodder for a novel deep in subplots, character development and peppered with a few giggles. The parade is as a rich and as multi-layered as Bluffton’s history, however, it is also just a plain ol’ good time.

“It is like setting up a circus,” said Babbie Guscio, one of the original parade organizers. “It’s fun, it’s funny and it’s the start of the season, complete with pre and post parties and oyster roasts—there’s nothing like Christmas in Old Town Bluffton.” Now with more than 200 entries, town employees organize the parade.

“We are thrilled that the ultra-disciplined and impressive Marine Corps Marching Band will join us this year,” said Julie Taylor, the town’s facilities manager and lead parade organizer. “They haven’t been here since 2010 so we are honored to make it on their schedule.”

In addition, the Bluffton High School and Battery Creek Marching Band will entertain the crowd along with crowd favorites such as the Women’s Drill Team, synchronized dancers with power drills, the Rose Buds and the Belfairies, two whimsical groups of wacky women.
Traditionally, parade entrants throw candy into the crowd. “Kids come home with bigger loots than on Halloween,” Taylor said. “However, we are asking people to have designated candy throwers so they can come to the kids, not have our little ones run out in the street.”

The weekend celebration begins with the tree-lighting at Town Hall at 5 p.m. Friday, December 6. The parade will be held Saturday, December 7, starting at 11 a.m.

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