HOLLY HILL -- Revelers turned out by the hundreds to welcome the holiday season at the Holly Hill Christmas Festival and Parade Dec. 2-3.
“Parade committee co-chairs Beverly Wiggins, Teresa Hinnant and their team of volunteers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the work they did to make the parade an ideal centerpiece for our festivities,” Holly Hill Mayor William Johnson said. “The same goes for all the members of the festival committee and town council who helped make the festival a resounding success, as well as the public works employees who helped with setting up and cleaning up afterwards.”
In all, more than 60 units participated in the parade, included floats entered by local churches, organizations and businesses. Beauty queens and government officials also appeared in the procession.
The South Carolina State University Marching 101 band garnered the most attention from those who lined the parade route along State Street. The band’s performance earned it the Best Overall Trophy when parade judges cast their final ballots.
LaLa Academy took home the trophy for Best Business entry. Other businesses represented were Amaker Restoration and Remodeling, Becca’s Soul Food, Belmont Luxury Home Care, Benjamin Auto Sales, Ruby’s Dance Studio, Stitched to a T and Wright Way Child Development Center.
In addition, the Lake Marion High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) unit won the Best Organization trophy. New Galilee Christian Church received the trophy for the Best Church entry. The LMHS band captured top honors for Best School entry, while the Holly Hill Elementary School Bulldog Choir did the same in the Most Like Christmas category. Johnny Wiggins rounded out the trophy winners as the lone entry in the golf cart category.
Area public safety organizations turned out in force as well. In addition to the Holly Hill Police Department, neighboring departments from Eutawville, Harleyville, Ridgeville and St. George were well represented and provided valuable assistance in staging the event.
“We appreciate neighboring towns that lent us their officers on Saturday,” Council member Jan C. Wiles said. “It takes a lot of vehicles to block off all the roads along the parade route.”
Similarly, Bowman, Eutawville, Providence, Vance and other nearby communities sent fire engines to represent their departments in the parade. The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office also participated.
Before and after the parade, visitors enjoyed a variety of Christmas Festival activities on Friday and Saturday. Adventurous young people got their exercise climbing the rock tower and burning off excess energy in the “bounce houses.” Vendor tents and vendors inside the Holly Hill Depot provided festival-goers with ample opportunities to get some holiday shopping done early. DJ Freddie Bozard headlined the musical entertainment.
After they worked up an appetite, guests had plenty to choose from, too. Selections ranged from fried fish to burgers and hot dogs to funnel cakes. Everyone went home with plenty of good food in their stomachs and an abundance of pleasant holiday memories.
Johnson said he's already anticipating next year's Christmas Festival.
“We look forward to having an even bigger and better festival in 2017,” he said.