Rivertown Regatta

This boat lit up Conway's Riverfront in the 2020 Rivertown Regatta.

Conway’s Christmas celebration will move off of dry land onto water Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. when as many as 20, possibly more, fully-decorated boats are expected to take part in the Fourth Annual Rivertown Regatta.

Organizer Rhonda Hardee said the purpose of the regatta is two-fold. The first goal is to benefit SOS and its Oak Tree Farm, off of Medlen Parkway, where five adult men have been given their first opportunity to live independently. The Farm is aimed at people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

The nonprofit group is working now on a second, but larger, building at the Farm.

The second purpose of the regatta is to give boating enthusiasts and river-lovers a chance to enjoy a nice, family event.

“SOS needs all the help they can get…This is a way we can help them and help the community because it gives everybody something to do, nice clean fun,” Hardee said.

Last year’s parade drew a huge crowd along Conway’s riverwalk to see the boats decorated with Rudolph, Santa and Mrs. Claus, dancing elves, snowmen, sleighs, reindeer pulling sleighs, Christmas trees decorated in their best finery and lights, lots and lots of lights, according to Hardee.

Many of the boats also include music.

Hardee, who is with America’s Boating Club of Long Bay, is continuing to take applications from boaters. Cost is $30 per boat, but they’ll work to help anyone who can’t afford it.

The boats will begin lining up at 4:30 p.m. at Savannah Bluff. The parade will head past the Conway Marina, go to the railroad trestle, turn around, come back and stop at the marina. Horry police will once again lead the parade.

It should reach the marina at about 5:20 or 5:25 p.m., depending on the number of boats and what decorations they have. The best place to watch the regatta will be along the Riverwalk, according to Hardee.

Anything from a jon boat to a 52-foot boat, whose owner she’s been talking with, is welcome to join the parade.

People can register their boats at bit.ly/abcregatta2021.

“Whatever is Christmasy. Anything Christmas. Use your imagination,” Hardee said of possible decorations.

“The new and big thing this year is food trucks,” Hardee said.

There will definitely be coffee and hot chocolate for sale by SOS.

She thinks at this point that there will be at least one food truck selling, perhaps tacos, BBQ sandwiches and/or hot dogs.

Hardee has reserved limited slips at the Marina, on a first-come, first-serve basis, for people who don’t want to sail back to Savannah Bluff.

Hardee’s advice to possible regatta viewers is: “Come on down, have a nice evening out.”

Sponsorships are also available for Bronze, $250; Silver, $500; and Gold, $1,000. All three come with benefits.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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