“We’re open for business! Have a look-see,” Orangeburg Mayor Paul Miller declared as the lights were turned on to begin the new season of the Children’s Garden Christmas and the Kids’ Walk on Monday evening.
Hundreds stood ready to take him up on his offer, including Buddy and Wanda Myers, their 10-year-old son, Lee, and Lee’s 10-year-old cousin, Maelynn Stack, along with a couple of friends and their children.
Being among the first to see the new season’s decorations at Edisto Memorial Gardens is a holiday tradition for the Cope residents, and it’s all the better because it’s an event that the whole family can enjoy together, Wanda Myers said.
As groups strolling the paths neared the various displays, cameras flashed and excited voices called out, “Look, look! Oooh, that’s cool!”
One of the new displays looks like dripping icicles.
“That is neat how they do that!” said Christina Porter of Orangeburg, who was enjoying the sights with her husband, Robert W., and their children, 16-year-old Robert D. and 14-year-old Chris. She said they visit the light displays every year.
“It helps you get in the Christmas spirit,” she said.
A little while later, the nearby Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center was a bustling place as crowds gathered to sip hot chocolate, enjoy live musical entertainment and browse among a wide variety of items being auctioned or raffled off at the Festival of Trees and Wreaths to benefit the Orangeburg-Calhoun Free Medical Clinic.
Ms. Claus sat at the doorway, holding children in her lap while camera-toting parents and grandparents recorded the moment for posterity.
Jerry and Wanda Govan had the honor of lighting the Children’s Garden Christmas, while Curt and Tamra Campbell were given the privilege of lighting the Kids’ Walk.
Don and Bernice Tribble flipped the switch to turn on the lights downtown in a brief ceremony Monday evening after the event was rained out the previous evening.
Govan, the assistant minister at his church as well as a state representative, gave a Christmas “sermonette” about the joy of receiving gifts — including the ultimate gift, “We thank God for the gift of his son” — and the pleasure of giving gifts. He said the “greatest gifts” are “a kind heart, a loving spirit and genuine respect for others. Think about others and how we can make this world a better place. Help us remember the true reason for the season.”
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