SPRINGFIELD – Spring was definitely in the air at the 52nd annual Governor’s Frog Jump and Egg Strike, with bright sunshine and a cool breeze, many spring activities -- and even an engagement during the Frog Jump Parade on Saturday morning.
Casey Jackson, a volunteer member of the Springfield Fire Department, proposed to his now-fiancee, Dorothy Strock, in the middle of the parade, where some members of the SFD walked along with department’s engines. Strock accepted and Jackson continued along the parade route on foot with other volunteers.
The Springfield Fire Department was listed as the parade grand marshal this year, with a vintage firetruck leading the way.
Master of Ceremonies Bob Bonnett said, “The Old Springfield Number 1 is still in service.”
The Neeses, Salley and Williston fire departments also were represented in the parade. Law enforcement from Springfield, Norway and surrounding towns helped with the event.
The winners of the Governor’s Frog Jump were Lucy the Frog with trainer Brooke Fogle. Lucy jumped 13 feet 2 inches, combined.
Finishing in second place were Little Bit, who jumped 11 feet total, and trainer Stephen Bellew of Summerville; and Toothless, jumping 10 feet 9 inches total, and trainer Danny Krane of Long Branch finished in third place.
The winner of the Egg Strike, Junior Division, was Blake Croft of Orangeburg, with Kip Augustine of Springfield as the runner-up. The Senior Division was won by Stephanie Croft of Orangeburg, with Kimberly Williams of Neeses as the runner-up.
The Crofts, mother and son, faced off for the $100 prize, with mom Stephanie winning the overall Egg Strike championship and the cash prize.
Twenty-seven adults and 21 youth faced off in the Egg Strike.
The number of entries for the Frog Jump was unavailable for this year. Mayor Edward Furtick said there were fewer entrants, probably based on recent weather affecting frog captures.
The winners of the Frog Jump Pageant, held last weekend, were Toddler Miss Tadpole, Brandley Margaret Lovell; Baby Miss Tadpole, Mattilyn Kennedy Furtick; Wee Miss Tadpole, Chelsea Davis; Tiny Miss Tadpole, Adaleigh Grace Naylane Corbett; Miss Mini Tadpole, Addison Olivia Fail; Miss Tadpole, Chandler Alexandria Etheridge; Junior Miss Frog Jump, Elizabeth Maree Hutto; and Miss Frog Jump, Laura Megan Respass.
Visitors from across the region enjoyed food and other activities before watching the parade late Saturday morning, and planned to stay for the Egg Hunt, Egg Strike and Frog Jump later in the day.
Lined up to watch the parade, Carlton Spires of Neeses said, “I won the Frog Jump when I was 18 years old. That’s been a long time ago.”
He said he was not entering a frog on Saturday but several people had asked him for frogs for the competition, which he gets from a nearby pond.
Jennifer Spires of Neeses said, “We went by some food vendors. We had some fried mushrooms a while ago.”
Fried doughnuts, cheese sticks, wings, tropical smoothies, elephant ears, cotton candy, barbecue sandwiches, and other fare were available in the carnival section of the festival.
Wayne Benton of Walterboro said, “This has been my third year here. I liked the wrestling they had year before last.” He stated that he also enjoyed the parade and event in general.
The S.C. Military Museum had a jeep in the parade, and the Springfield Garden Club had a colorful spring theme in its float, which was pulled and co-sponsored by Carson’s Antiques and Collectibles. The Frog Jump Pageant winners were on a green float, and other pageant winners rode on various vehicles. Other parade participants included the Shriners, the We Ride organization and motorcycle club as well as area churches.
More than 80 people were lined up for tickets for rides at the carnival immediately after the parade. Some had found a place in line a little early.
Marvin Dicks of Williston, who was at the carnival with his daughter and grandson, said, “The early bird gets the worm!” He said the parking was good because of his early arrival and that he liked seeing all of the people in uniform there for safety at the event.
Charmica Williams, his daughter, said, “We are having a wonderful time.”
Dicks’ grandson, 4-year-old Travis Williams-Johnson, said the tractor ride was enjoyable and that he was having a good time.
Hundreds gathered for the egg hunt at Springfield Methodist Church about an hour after the parade.
Large crowds continued to gather for the Egg Strike and Frog Jump after the hunt was over.