January 2019

A Note From Bluffton's Mayor

Author: Lisa Sulka

The holidays are full of festivity and events in Bluffton. We mark the beginning of this time with our annual Christmas tree lighting and parade. This took place the first weekend in December, but I wanted to thank all of our staff for spending “off”-hour time to make both events so special to all of our residents, young and old. So please allow me to give a shout out to all who helped make the beginning of this season so wonderful.

For more than 50 years, Blufftonians have lined the streets of the Historic District to cheer their neighbors, laugh at the eclectic entertainment and kickoff the Christmas season. The parade is as rich and multi-layered as Bluffton’s history, and so are the preparations to make the parade and Friday’s tree lighting happen. Here’s a shout-out to all who scurry around like Santa’s elves, making these events come to life.

Town staff members have been planning these two events since August. On Veterans’ Day, a 25-foot, 2,500-pound Fraser fir tree was transported 349 miles from Sugar Mountain Nursery (North Carolina). With the help of ratchet straps, shims, and the muscles of three public works employees and the public information officer, three hours later the tree was installed.

Two town employees, Rocio Rexrode and Dana Smith, who double as ornament masters, then sprayed glue and red, silver and white glitter on more than 385 tree ornaments. Maybe by Memorial Day, they will stop finding glitter in their clothes, beds, sofas and cars.

After Thanksgiving, our town clerk Kim Chapman joined the ornament masters, and with the help of a scissor lift, they hung nearly 400 ornaments in the misty rain one afternoon.

The entire Santa’s workshop (i.e. five boxes of Christmas decorations, countless stuffed animals and two Christmas trees) for Friday’s tree lighting ceremony comes from Dana Smith’s garage attic. This act of kindness for the Bluffton community is Dana’s way to honor the legacy of her mother, who loved the Christmas season and passed away, years ago, in December. After the tree lighting, the Christmas décor is moved to the Bluffton Police Department, so the officers can enjoy it as they work through the holidays.

This year, more than 200 children sat on Santa’s lap and consumed more than 750 cookies and 20 gallons of hot chocolate from The Corner Perk.

The parade is always the first Saturday of December, rain or shine. Thank you, Mother Nature, for not raining too much on our parade. More than 65 town employees and about 50 police officers arrived at 7 a.m. to work the entire day. More than 230 entries were signed up to participate; 40 porta potties were strategically placed; and officials planned for a crowd between 10,000-15,000 people. Thank you to Derrick Coaxum, public works manager and his crew for coordinating every detail.

There are so many people to thank—from Mike Reichenbach (Chevrolet) for the lease of his vehicles; the Bluffton Bike Taxi who chauffeured Mayor Pro Tempore Larry Toomer and me; the Marine Corps Marching Band; and the numerous property owners who allowed more than 200 parade floats and a dozen horses and few dozen dogs to wait in pre-determined staging areas.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Christmas parade, rain or shine.

Happy New Year, Bluffton!

  1. Nothing like Bluffton!

    — Lynne Hall (Einloth)    Jan 2, 04:41 pm   

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