Greetings and Salutations everyone!
On Saturday, December 20, 2014, I attended the 33rd Annual Lowrys Christmas Parade in the small farming community of Lowrys in Chester County, South Carolina. It is among the largest Christmas parades in South Carolina annually drawing anywhere between 12,000 to 20,000 people each year. Not that impressive if you live in a major city, but for a rural community its a big number.
The huge appeal for the Lowrys Christmas Parade is the country Christmas theme. Unlike the city parades with high school marching bands and cars with politicians and beauty pageant winners, the Lowrys parade is mostly made up of floats pulled by horses and tractors. Indeed horse riders - often dressed up along with their horses - make up a good portion of the parade's participants. This along with the country road route gives the parade a special homey-type of feel for spectators.
Weather and health permitting I have attended this parade almost every year for the past eight years. This year I had the unexpected honor of actually taking part in the parade itself - and helping to promote Southern heritage and identity in a positive way.
I arrived at the parade roughly an hour before its scheduled 1 PM start time. The traffic getting to the parade and later leaving the parade - not to mention actually finding good places to stand - necessitates getting there somewhat early.
Unfortunately, I woke late this morning and - following a hastily eaten breakfast of fried Spam and buttered biscuits with grape jelly - I drove the ten miles from my home near Chester to Lowrys. I was lucky to find a parking space for my vehicle near the parade lineup rather than farther away. The forecasts called for cool temperatures in the lower 40s F and rainy conditions, which probably accounted for the slow arrival for many of the parade watchers. Hardcore parade veterans numbering in the several thousand were already there in groups bundled up in coats and huddled around makeshift tent villages, warming themselves over portable fire pits and grills.
I decided to check out the floats and get a few pictures before the parade began.
|Yep, That's The First National CSA (The actual Stars & Bars, not the battle flag CS Army of Northern Virginia).|
|Here's Another One! Southern Confederate Heritage Proudly On Display In This Parade.|
Among the remains of a recently plowed up cotton field, among the hastily prepared floats, trotting horses, slow moving tractors, and general mayhem, I found a group of familiar faces: members of the Brigadier General Micah Jenkins Camp #1569 Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) out of nearby Rock Hill, SC. I greeted them and was warmly welcomed.
I was chatting with one of them about my new blog when one of them invited me to join them in the parade itself. Needless to say I felt honored and accepted. My only regret being that had I know beforehand, I might have packed the Confederate gray uniform I usually only wear for Confederate Memorial Day (May 10th in SC) and US Veterans Day parades. Still I was dressed warmly - though I found I had to retreat to my car briefly to collect my scarf.
At a little after 1 PM the parade started. I was given a bag of candy and a handful of small battle flags to hand out. The flags - given a request - were all handed out well before the parade ended about 80 minutes later. The SCV and its float - flags and all - were well received. Kids especially loved the generous amounts of candy we tossed out.
|A Little Fella Gets A Battle Flag.|
|Even Dogs Love A Good Country Parade.|
|Someone Was Handing Out Hugs.|
After the parade ended, I helped the members of the Micah Jenkins Camp take down their flags and disassemble their float and thanked them sincerely for asking me to join them. The parade was definitely a great example of Christmas spirit in a small country town, where Southern heritage and identity was more than welcome. I was both blessed and honored to be an active part of it.
Again my thanks to the members of the Brigadier General Micah Jenkins Camp #1569 SCV from Rock Hill, SC and to the organizers of the 33rd Annual Lowrys Christmas Parade for all their efforts in making another year a success.
Can't wait for next year!
Can't wait for next year!