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It already looks like Christmas in Van Wyck, with its streets lined with old-fashioned light poles.
The small community between Indian Land and Lancaster will spread holiday cheer with a Christmas parade at noon Saturday, Dec. 8, and the Lighting of the Way candle-lighting and worship event at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.
The two events, routinely held on the second weekend in December, are holiday traditions for those who like the charm of small-town gatherings. Both are organized by the Van Wyck Community Development Club.
Santa and Mrs. Claus are the stars of the fourth annual Christmas parade that includes nearly 30 entries, from marching bands and horseback riders to decorated tractors and the Girl Scouts. Many throw candy. The parade is open to anyone who would like to participate, organizers said.
The route begins at the Van Wyck post office at the corner of Old Hickory and Steele Hill roads, and follows Old
Hickory to the Van Wyck Community Center, where Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children.
“It’s a fun thing to do,” said Ollie Bass, club president. “It kicks Christmas off.”
Bass, who has been active in the club for 12 years, was surprised that Van Wyck didn’t have its very own Christmas parade when he moved to the community. Born and raised in the North Carolina mountains, every little town had a parade. Under his leadership, the club organized the first parade four years ago.
“I just love to do it,” Bass said. “I like to see people have a good time.”
Lighting of the Way
The streets of Van Wyck have already been lined with hundreds of light poles for the Lighting of the Way celebration, set for Sunday.
The faith-based event leads participants through four churches – Van Wyck Presbyterian, Van Wyck United Methodist, Trinity Presbyterian and White Oak AME Zion.
Participants then go to the community center for refreshments.
The Gold Hill AME Zion Church choir will sing carols beginning at 4:15 p.m. to open the celebration at the crossroads of Old Hickory and Steele Hill roads.
Candles are lit as participants travel from church to church to hear short sermons, sing Christmas hymns and enjoy other Christmas-themed programs.
The tradition began in 1993.
“It gets you in the Christmas mood,” said Jane Massey, an event organizer. “It puts you into the true Christmas spirit.”
Driving the candlelit streets is special to Massey, who can’t imagine Christmas in Van Wyck without the Lighting of the Way.
“It’s just gorgeous,” she said.
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