Kershaw plans much more than a parade

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By Chris Sardelli

KERSHAW – The town of Kershaw hopes to draw residents from across the county with a day full of Christmas activities on Dec. 13.

Sheila Hinson, organizer for the Kershaw Christmas parade, said the Christmas festivities will begin with the annual parade at 4 p.m.

Parade groups and floats will flow onto Hampton Street from both Church and Cleveland streets.

The theme of this year’s parade is “The Spirit of Giving,” and it will focus on giving residents a chance to give back to the community.

Operation Rudolph, a nonprofit organization that began in Kershaw, will be playing a big part in the parade. Operation Rudolph provides gifts for children in need.

Hinson encourages everyone who plans to attend the parade to bring a gift for Operation Rudolph, either wrapped or unwrapped. A vehicle manned by “elves” will travel the parade route to collect the gifts.

“It will give people an opportunity to get out in the street and give gifts for needy children,” Hinson said.

Along with several area high school bands, 25 floats are booked to participate in the parade, but Hinson expects more groups will sign up to take part in the parade.

In total, she expects between 75 and 100 groups to enter the parade.

The parade will also feature Mrs. South Carolina 2008, Gariane Phillips Gunter. Through her appearances, Gunter, a psychology student, hopes to eliminate the stigma attached to people with mental illness.

Hot drinks, barbecue

After the parade, the Pastor’s Association will serve hot drinks in front of the Kershaw Fire Department, and several vendors will be serving a variety of food, including barbecue.

Many area merchants will also be serving refreshments inside their stores.

New for Kershaw this year is an old-fashioned Christmas tree lighting ceremony  at 6 p.m. in front of Robert’s Shell Station near the fire department.

The tree will be lit by Dean and Renee Horton, Kershaw’s Citizens of the Year, as well as Business Citizen of the Year, Tommy Baker, who is also the mayor of Kershaw.  

The town will also be handing out a series of plaques to some town residents as part of the ceremony.

Hinson said the names of the recipients will be kept secret until the ceremony.

After the tree lighting, choirs from several churches will lead the crowd in a selection of Christmas carols.

The choir will then break into smaller groups and carol in areas around the town until 9 p.m.

“This is a community that is coming together. The businesses, the churches, they are coming together for one thing and that is the gift of giving. I think that’s extremely important,” Hinson said. “We want everybody to be a part of it.”

To enter the Kershaw Christmas parade or learn more about the day’s activities, call Sheila Hinson at (803) 243-0195.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416