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Patriotic Boat Parade

By Nathan Elliott

HUNDREDS HAD A grand time helping McCormick County celebrate Independence Day on July 7 at the Plum Branch Yacht Club. As has been in the past, the festivities were held on the Saturday following July 4 and included a boat parade, lots of good food, music, games and other activities. Hosts of the event were: the Thurmond Lake Sail & Power Squadron, the Plum Branch Yacht Club and Lakeside Grill, and the McCormick County Chamber of Commerce.
The celebration started with a patriotic boat parade on the lake with about 30 boats participating. Grand Marshals Tom & Judy Costarino from the Power Squadron led the hoard from buoy SR-62 to the Plum Branch Yacht Club “Judging dock” and around the cove in front of the Lakeside Grill. They really put on a show! Judging was performed by Mayors Roy Smith (McCormick) and Frankie Walker (Parksville), and McCormick County Council Vice Chairman Bernie Hamby. Folks lined the surrounding terrain & water to watch the proceedings & cheer on the contestants.1st, 2nd& 3rd place cash awards were presented at the club pavilion.
First place went to Matthew Seigler in a 24’ Chaparral Cutty Cabin (#25). Patriotic buntings hung from the navy canopy and the windshield, small American flags and pennants were attached to the sides of the boat, and “America the Beautiful” was hung in separate letters around the front of the boat. One patriot sat on the back of the boat and two others in the front waving American flags.
Tom & Karen Greene took second place with the theme of “American Freedom” on their 20’ Chaparral Bow Rider (#19). Tom was dressed as an eagle and danced on the back deck. Uncle Sam (Scott Sherfield) was pulled in a raft from the back of the boat. A large American flag draped the canopy length-wise; red, white & blue fringes decorated the sides of the boat.
Mark and Rita Farley took third place in their 2007 24’ Smoker Craft pontoon boat (#15). Patriotic buntings draped the side of the boat, and Uncle Sam (Mark) stood in full attire on the back. Mark’s wife, Rita, Barry & Ping Habib waved American flags inside the boat.
Following the boat parade, the multitudes enjoyed a choice of BBQ plates, BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and other food throughout the afternoon at the Riverside Grille. Family oriented games were played on the beach; entertainment was available all afternoon & evening from Tony Dof WKSX 92.7, DJ Lee Stickdorn played from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., and live music by “Forest” entertained the crowd after 6:00 p.m.
McCormick’s Independence Day celebration ended when Crazy Craig torched off fireworks starting at dusk with a multitude of landlubbers & boaters watching from a safe distance. A grand time was had by all.
The first recorded Independence Day celebration was in Philadelphia in 1777 in observation of the first anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence of our country from England. Since then, municipalities all over this nation from small to grand have celebrated this great historic event with fireworks, concerts, parades and other activities too numerous to list in the style of their own local cultures.
McCormick’s July 7 event was the first cooperative effort between the hosts and sponsors and hopefully, many more will follow. Sponsors included: LEE BUILDERS, First Citizens Bank, Furniture Doctor Inc, RIEGEL, Savannah Lakes Village, WESLEY COMMONS, Red Rooster, McCormick Tire & Oil, SMART PRINTING, and Crazy Craig’s Fireworks.
Mark your calendar for 2019 for perhaps an entire week of Independence Day celebration in McCormick County!

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