In spite of a little rain, the Hartsville Annual Christmas Parade was a success. The weather kept a few entries from participating but a huge crowd showed up to enjoy the parade. Participants and spectators alike followed the special rules implemented for this year’s parade set during the pandemic. Thank you for your understanding!

A special “Thank You” to all the Shriners who brought a smile with their fun antics, and to Sonic Drive-In and McDonald’s for donating breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Racheal Petty deserves a big “Thank You” for handling the parade entries and the lineup. You may have heard me say this and it is true, but without Racheal’s generous donation of her time and effort there wouldn’t be a Christmas Parade.

The grand prize entry was Citizens Bank, while other winners were: Best Organization — Hartsville Strong; Best Business — Volunteer Pool; Best Kids — Blair Evitts; Best Pet — Wilson Bank & Trust; Best Car — Jeep Club; Best Truck — Justin Booker; Best Tractor — Jerry Young Sr.; Best Motorcycle/ATV — Don Burnley; Best Horse — Donna Burns; Best Theme — Epic Tree Co.

The annual Christmas Parade is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce each year. This means the Chamber is responsible for selecting the parade theme and Grand Marshal, purchasing trophies and liability insurance, the parade registrations and lineup, arranging breakfast and delivery (thanks David Nollner!) for the Shriners, securing judges and purchasing gifts for the judges, finding an parade announcer with a sound system and decorating the Courthouse.

And this is just for this year’s Christmas Parade. In previous years and hopefully again next year, we will be back to celebrating and supporting Hartsville’s Three Days of Christmas. That includes the Tour of Homes sponsored by the FCE clubs and Christmas at the Courthouse featuring a Youth Choir presentation, a reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Jack McCall, free hot chocolate and cookies, Christmas ornament crafts, pictures with Santa and the official lighting of the Christmas tree.

All of these events are handled by the Chamber Board of Directors, which is made up of volunteers from the Hartsville community. They volunteer their time and talents in support of not only Christmas but also activities that take place all year in our local businesses, schools and community.

The public is encouraged to volunteer for any Chamber activity that interests you. You don’t have to be on the Board of Directors to be a part of the Chamber. We welcome everyone and have programs that can use your enthusiasm, commitment and talents. Together we make the Chamber stronger and more valuable to our community.

And don’t forget to check out a new option for Letters for Santa, which can be found near Hartsville’s Christmas tree on McMurry Blvd. between Advanced Propane and Wilson Bank & Trust.

The attractive brick mailbox was constructed by the masonry class at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. Warden Raymond Byrd agreed to loan it to the Chamber of Commerce for the Letters for Santa display.

“The mailbox seemed like another way to brighten up the holiday season and provide a fun way for kids to communicate with Santa,” said Natalie Knudsen, director for the Hartsville-Trousdale Chamber of Commerce. “Letters can be dropped off until Dec. 23.”

Special thanks go out to Warden Byrd for the loan of the mailbox, the masonry class for the excellent construction effort, and A.B. Harper and Paul Knudsen for transporting the mailbox to its current location.

Wishing everyone a blessed and happy Christmas and New Year!

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