Despite cold temperatures made a little chillier with occasional wind gusts, hundreds of area residents gathered along Bethune’s main street for the town’s second annual Christmas parade.
Palpable pride and excitement seemed to fill the air as people, dressed for the weather, turned out to celebrate the holidays and cheer on the band, floats, sports cars, horses, tractors and marchers which queued up to march from one end of town to the other.
Timrod Baptist Church set up a booth near the Discount Food Grocery Store and gave away hot dogs, biscuits, hot drinks and water to passers-by. Farther down the street, members of the Bethune Lions Club took the opportunity to sell mops and brooms to raise funds for the club’s mission to provide eye glasses to underprivileged people who need them. A number of other organizations were on hand as well to provide information and free items to anyone interested.
At a little after 10 a.m., sirens wailed and the parade started. With nearly 70 participants involved, the parade lasted for nearly an hour.
“It was very nice,” Patricia Sweetenburg, a Bethune resident said. “I think they did a wonderful job with it.”
Ishmael Stokes agreed, saying the town seems to be enjoying a resurgence.
“I’m very motivated -- a lot of good things are happening here,” he said.
Town Councilman Don Witham said he was pleased with the turnout and thanked everyone involved, particularly parade organizer Bubba Hinson.
“He has really done a great job with the parade,” Witham said.