by David Kellin, firstname.lastname@example.org
The parades on the Fourth of July have always been an exciting event. An event that showcases the local flavor of the community. It is a time to draw together and celebrate our freedoms and independence. It marks part of who we are as people.
Parades have changed over the years. I remember decorated floats, marching bands, cotton candy and candied apples. Parades like those still exist. This year it seems that in our area, the ATV and Four Wheelers reign supreme.
Each year, the South Carolina community of Charlesboro hold what I view as one of the area most unique parades. It is a 2 mile + route on Taxahaw road in the rural community. It is the only bi-directional parade I know of. The entrants of the parade travel two miles down Taxahaw road, and then turn around and backtrack to the starting point on a two lane road. Depending on the spot you are watching, you will get to see the parade twice.
This year it was bright and sunny. the heat was almost oppressive. The shadowy spots in the route fill up early. Sunny spots sprout umbrellas and 10 x 10 popups. Friends speak to each other across the road, neighbors hand out plastic grocery bags to the kids to hold the candy that will rain across the grassy strips in front of homes and churches.
The procession creeps behind the sheriff’s cruiser and fire trucks as come down the winding country road. The parade starts at 10:30am and it may be 15 to 20 minutes before it reaches you.
What follows is a long train of all-terrain vehicles, classic cars, bass boats, and semi tractors. The sole requirement for entry is that the vehicle sports an American flag.
In the election years, candidates drive heavily campaign slogan covered cars. This year, there were few of them. Most all were individuals that just wanted to be in the parade.
What separates this from the big city parades is the recognition of family and friends. The riders are people you know, love and see most everyday. The waves are genuine and so are the smiles.
Before long you notice the return stream of riders coming back. Some people have dropped out at the turnaround point. Cars for up at the start of the parade fill in behind the parade and creep towards the end and a return to the holiday festivities to come. Another Charlesboro parade is in the books. Cookouts and swimming are the order of the afternoon. Happy Fourth of July.