By Martine Wolfe-Miller, Communications Officer
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (Dec. 4, 2015) – Thousands of residents and visitors will gather along Coleman Boulevard on Sunday, Dec. 13 to enjoy more than 100 floats and several marching bands in the 20th Annual Town of Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade.
The fun begins with a spectacular tree lighting and fireworks display at Moultrie Middle School at 5:30 p.m., immediately followed by the parade that starts at Pelzer Drive and ends at Camellia Drive just before Chuck Dawley Blvd.
“Our community does an amazing job of getting everyone in the spirit with incredibly designed and beautifully lit floats,” said Special Events Planner Nicole Harvey. “We are thrilled to welcome back the Wells Fargo Stagecoach along with many other local favorites.”
This year’s Grand Marshal is former Town Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem Thomasena Stokes-Marshall. Judging the floats will be Ann Magwood, Cara Fowler and Mary Huffman, three women who are pillars in our community.
Extensive security planning has been done and safety measures both seen and unseen will be in place throughout the event. Mount Pleasant Police ask participants to be aware of their surroundings and report anything that seems suspicious to one of the many uniformed officers present: “If you see something, say something!”
Spectators can utilize the Mount Pleasant Police Department’s smart phone app to send pictures or video of any suspicious persons or behavior during the parade. “Within the application users can click on Parade Report and send us any pictures or video of something that seems out of place,” says Inspector Chip Googe. “We still want you to call 911 so that we can have officers on the way but this will give us a little more information on what we are responding to.”
The Christmas Light Parade is a Lowcountry favorite for people of all ages and can be best enjoyed by following these easy tips:
When does the parade start/end?The Christmas Light Parade starts immediately following the tree lighting at approximately 5:35 p.m. The parade typically ends no later than 8:00 p.m., depending on where you sit on the route.
Will there be road closures and how do I get where I need to go? Plan to arrive early and enjoy the time with your community. In order for floats to line up, northbound lanes from Patriots Point Boulevard to Pelzer Drive and southbound lanes from Pelzer Drive to Houston Northcutt close at 4:00 p.m. All lanes from Pelzer Drive to Sea Island Shopping Center close at 5:00 p.m. The Old Village will be accessible from McCants Drive via Rifle Range Road. Russell Drive will be accessible from Chuck Dawley Boulevard.
When will Coleman Boulevard re-open? No cars are allowed on closed roadways until all pedestrian traffic is clear. In addition to Coleman Boulevard, this affects Chuck Dawley Blvd. and Ben Sawyer between Rifle Range and Sea Island Shopping Center. Police and Public Services work hard to open the road as efficiently as possible with public safety being the primary concern. All roads are typically re-opened around 8 p.m. Vehicles will be directed to turn south as the gradual re-opening occurs to prevent traffic backup behind the end of the parade as it travels north until all floats have finished unloading at Sea Island Shopping Center.
Where is the best place to view the parade?People line the sides of Coleman Blvd. and there are many great viewing areas from start to finish. There will be sidewalk seating along the parade route and there are a few bleachers set up in front of the Farmers Market Pavilion.
How about food? Can I tailgate along the parade route? Yes. Tailgating at the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade is a long-standing tradition! We encourage you to come early, settle in and enjoy the festivities with a cup of hot cocoa, apple cider, or other warm beverage. Keep in mind that there are many restaurants located on Coleman Blvd. Alcohol will be available for sale inside restaurants and bars, but not on the street.
Where should children go if they get separated from their group? Families and parade participants should have a safety plan in place. Instruct children to find a Town official, Firefighter or Police Officer on duty. Please go to the stage by the Farmers Market Pavilion in front of Moultrie Middle School or to the Lost Child Tent at Regions Bank on the corner of Chuck Dawley and Coleman Blvd. (Sea Island Shopping Center) for help.
Can I fly my drone at the event?In the interest of public safety, Coleman Blvd. including the entire lineup area and parade route are deemed a No Drone Zone during the event.
Is the parade rain or shine?Yes, the parade will only be cancelled in the case of extreme weather that would jeopardize safety. In case of hazardous weather on parade day, the public should visit the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade & Tree Lighting Facebook page, the Mount Pleasant Police Twitter feed, or tune to Y102.5 FM for information. If the Parade is cancelled, it is not rescheduled. No announcement means the show will go on!
Will there be public restrooms?Lit port-o-lets will be available in the lineup area between Metto Coffee and Provincial Circle and in the parade viewing area at the East Cooper School District Office near Moultrie Middle School. Public restrooms are available at Shem Creek Park.
Will there be handicapped parking? Yes, handicapped parking is available at Moultrie Middle School.