2016-11-18 / Front Page

The official holiday parade of S.C. celebrates 63 years of festivities

By Jessica Mejia

The year’s Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade kicks off December 3 and will be celebrating 63 years sharing the holidays with Columbia citizens. The parade will commence at 9:45 a.m. at Gervais and Bull Streets and conclude at 11:30 p.m.

Considered the official holiday parade of South Carolina, the Carillon parade will be covered by WIS-TV starting at 10 a.m. and will be watched by people in 40 counties.

This year’s theme is “Hometown Holidays,” and the Grand Marshal will be the 2016 College World Series Champion Coastal Carolina Chantacleers’ Baseball team. In the past, the parade has featured hundreds of entertainers including the Swansea High School Marching Band. This year’s parade will also include high school marching bands and festive floats, among others.

Michael Sumter, the chair of the parade, has been planning this year’s event since January and is excited about the festivities. “My favorite part is when the parade steps off; you hear the drums coming toward you, and then all of a sudden you get this big sound from the brass instruments, bright flags go up, and you know that’s when you cue up the smiles, clapping, and little kids bouncing on a knee,” said Sumter.

As the overseer of the parade, Sumter runs the monthly meetings, sets the agenda, and creates goals so everything goes smoothly. In addition, he ensures all permits, funds, sponsors, and city support staff are in place.

Funding for the parade is received partly by entry fees, H-Tax, and sponsors.

“Throughout the year, and especially after the parade is over, we have to get together to ‘close the books’ on another year. While we're closing, we’re also completing the budget for the next year’s parade and grant applications,” said Sumter. The parade board members are responsible for forming the parade line up and schedule, public relations, and volunteers. A few sponsors include local Columbia businesses Village Idiot Pizza, WIS 10, and ABC Bonding.

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