Travelers Rest Christmas Parade: A Small Town Christmas

by Jason Greer

Travelers Rest Christmas Parade

A Small Town Christmas in 2019 

This second Saturday in December once again the small town warmth of Travelers Rest will be on full display.

For the 47th year, as so much has changed, a constant in this community has been the annual Christmas parade. For a few hours that morning, the town’s population can about double, as so many stream in for the fun and fellowship of the Travelers Rest Christmas parade.

As we line streets of Travelers Rest, and watch the floats, bands and participants walk by, it is worth remembering that planning for this yuletide tradition begins in March, when Christmas is the furtherest thing from most of our minds. Led by Diana Kilgore, and functioning as an umbrella of the Greater TR Chamber of Commerce, 400 – 500 hours go into planning the yearly parade. 

 

 

“Everything is extremely organized and built on the shoulders of those who came before. Joyce Judd, the previous director, organized the parade like a well oiled machine,” said Kilgore. “Judd had the biggest heart in the world for Travelers Rest.”

“We keep doing the same thing because it works. The only thing that really changes is our theme. This year it is ‘A Small Town Christmas’,” Kilgore continued.  “Everything is pretty structured. Change is not a good thing!”

From our local elected officials, like Travelers Rest area resident, Lt. Governor Pamela Evette, to school bands and businesses and all kinds of youth groups, virtually every part of Travelers Rest will be represented.

 

 

“We do the parade as a fundraiser. The two non profits that benefit are Foothills Family Resources and the North Greenville Crisis Ministry. Both are chosen on their focus on improving the community for the longterm,” said Kilgore. Entry fees for parade participants are low, and every dollar raised stays in the local community. 

“People want to see Santa and have a fun day with the community. Our people are very faithful and arrive at the crack of dawn to reserve their (viewing spot),” Kilgore emphasized. 

The parade is one of the few local parades where candy is always distributed, but never thrown. “We buy $350 worth of candy every year! We try to be as professional as we can and have a blast.”

 

 

After the parade the public is welcome to come to a reception at the lobby of the main Bank of Travelers Rest and enjoy time by the Christmas Tree with Santa.

“We had people whose granddaughter won a beauty pageant, who called us up and wanted to know if she could participate. Just come and enjoy it.”

A lot of creativity goes into the parade and it’s important to watch all the smiles of the people in the parade and the viewers. Kilgore and her crew put in a lot of work into the parade and their enthusiasm for the joy the parade brings the community is evident. “It makes my day watching all the smiles and seeing the community get together.  When I retire from organizing, I’m going to have an accounting float!” There are probably close to 30 people who will be working for the parade, with about four who work all year on the event.

“It helps if people could remember why we are there. Have fun! It’s Christmas time!”

 

 

Travelers Rest will remain as small, as far as emotional ties, as we keep it. Fewer things will keep the togetherness and connection of a community together like an annual Christmas parade. 

So this second Saturday morning in December, come get an early seat and enjoy the morning with your family, friends and neighbors. 

 

 

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The Travelers Rest Christmas parade will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019

The theme is “A Small Town Christmas”. The parade will begin and stage at Trailblazer Park, turn onto Main Street, turn onto Center Street and end near the Wells Fargo Bank branch.

See the parade Facebook site for more information: https://www.facebook.com/TravelersRestChristmasParade/

 

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All photos provided courtesy of the Travelers Rest Christmas Parade

 

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