VANCE - Eastern Orangeburg County’s final Christmas Parade of 2017 took place along Highway 310 in Vance on Sunday, Dec. 17.
“I was impressed with the participation, from the Corvettes to the fire trucks to all the community organizations, dance clubs and the young people from Vance-Providence Elementary School and St. James-Gaillard Elementary School,” Vance Mayor Michael Aiken Sr. said. “I especially thank Shirley Williams, who did a tremendous job of getting everything organized, as well as everyone who turned out to participate or just to watch.”
“It turned out really well,” Aiken added. “I was really impressed. My count (of the number of vehicles that took part in the parade) was around 102.”
Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. served as the parade’s grand marshal.
Future armed forces members led the way and presented the colors at the event. The Lake Marion High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard marched at the head of the procession, followed closely by a large contingent of fellow JROTC students.
In addition to Wright and Aiken, elected officials who participated in the event included County Councilman Johnny Ravenell, Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, County Administrator Harold Young, Holly Hill Mayor William Johnson and former Eutawville mayor Jefferson Johnson. The parade also featured local churches, public service organizations and local businesses. Area three-wheel motorcycle enthusiasts turned out in force, too. So did a fleet of Corvettes representing a group who call themselves the Tri-County Vettes and a number of classic cars.
The parade also featured fire engines from departments in Eutawville, Providence and Santee, which joined their Vance counterparts in doing their part to light up and enliven the festivities. Dorchester County even sent a tanker truck to accompany the other fire departments in attendance.
“I’d like to thank the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office for helping us with traffic control while we held the parade,” Aiken said. “They did a wonderful job, just like they always do. We had a beautiful day for it, too. I didn’t even have to put my jacket on."
“I’m really impressed (with the turnout), being such a small town,” the mayor said. “We always bring it in because we’re the last town to do the parade every year. We have good participation, and I really love that.”