pic Christmas parade Noel

These youngsters were having a great time in the 2015 Christmas parade on a beautiful day when shirt sleeves were sufficient. Forecasters say this year's parade is going to require a whole lot more bundling up when it starts rolling at 10 a.m.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

The famous man in the bright red suit will be in Conway Saturday for the city’s annual Christmas Parade beginning at 10 a.m.

According to Sydney Lawson, who serves as marketing and special events director for the Conway Chamber of Commerce, the Conway Christmas Parade is widely regarded as one of the top parades in Horry County.

“We have 125 units and this year’s parade will be the best ever,” Lawson said. “We have 18 commercial floats, which is the most ever. We have a lot of new businesses participating, which is really exciting. The cold weather will make it even more festive.”

The parade will feature area bands, beauty queens, Shrine units, clowns, local personalities and more.

“The Express Employment Professionals Clydesdale team which is based out of Oklahoma will be in our parade for the first time,” Lawson said. “They only participate in six parades each year and we were one of the ones chosen this year.”

Santa Claus and the Clydesdale Horses will be available for pictures at the Peanut Warehouse after the parade. There is no cost for pictures, but donations will be accepted for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Breakfast With Santa will also be available at the Peanut Warehouse following the parade.

Breakfast with Santa will also be offered before the parade from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. in the Conway Recreation Center at 1515 Mill Pond Road in Conway. Eggs, grits, sausage, milk or juice will be served. Cost is free for children under 2 with a paying adult, $3 for kids 3 and up and $4 for adults. Register online at www.ConwayParksandRecreation.com or in person at the Recreation Center. Call (843) 488-1950.

Tommy Moore, who serves as the Chamber’s vice president of community affairs and special events, is equally excited about this year’s parade.

“Our Christmas parade is the biggest in the county,” he said. “It’s always festive and always fun.”

Moore said putting on the parade is an opportunity for the Chamber to do something special for the community.

 “It’s a lot of fun because it gets everyone in the holiday spirit,” he said. “It’s an event for the whole city. It gets you in the spirit of Christmas.”

Kelli James, executive vice president of the Conway Chamber said the parade serves a dual purpose by entertaining spectators and attracting shoppers to Conway.

She said the parade is one of the Chamber’s most popular events.

“It brings the community together in celebration of the holiday,” she said.

James said many of the downtown shops will decorate for Christmas, making it a very festive day for Conway.

The parade will line up on 16th Avenue between Sherwood Drive and Main Street. All parade participants must enter Lakeside Drive or 12th Avenue, and traffic during the parade will be one-way only.

The parade will begin on 16th Avenue and travel along Main Street to Third Avenue. It will make a right on Laurel Street and travel up to Fourth Avenue before making a left at Fourth Avenue and ending at Powell Street. 

Even more Downtown fun

Downtown merchants will bring back their popular living windows in participating stores with humans posing as mannequins tonight from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in Downtown Conway.

Stores will stay open until 8 p.m. for holiday shopping.

There will be free carriage rides, sponsored by Conway National Bank, beginning at the old service station at Fourth and Laurel where folks will also find free hot chocolate and cookies.

At 6 p.m., the Conway High School choir will perform, followed at 7:15 p.m. by Miss Kathleen’s Carolina Vocals.

On Dec. 15, the Kingston Elementary School singers will kick off the performances at 6 p.m., followed by the First United Methodist Church’s Carillon choir at 6:45 p.m. Closing out the music will be the Carolina Vocals. Carriage rides, shopping and snacks will also be part of the evening’s events.

There will also be some fresh produce and perhaps some crafts and baked goods.

“The Rivertown Christmas celebration is a great way to experience a down-home Main Street Christmas and take in the fun of shopping local and enjoying old-fashion Christmas tradition,” said Conway Downtown Alive director Hillary Howard.

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