More than 2,500 registered for Sumter Christmas parade

Santa Claus will ring in the season with Dec. 3 event


The Sumter Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Evening Optimist Club, will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, on Main Street.

The theme for this year's parade is "It's a Wonderful Life."

The parade will begin at the corner of North Main and Dubose streets and proceed southward on Main Street to Bartlette Street.

Spectators are reminded to arrive early to select their favorite viewing location, as all streets that intersect with Main Street between Dubose and Bartlette streets will begin closing at 1:30 p.m.

Leading units of the parade will arrive at the old courthouse about 2:15 p.m., and the final units will pass the courthouse about 3:25 p.m. and reach Bartlette Street at approximately 3:40 p.m. Of course, jolly old Saint Nick will be there to fill everyone with the Christmas spirit.

More than 100 units - with more than 2,500 participants - registered for the event, according to the Evening Optimist Club parade committee.

Spectators will enjoy colorful floats, dance teams, beauty queens, marching bands and many more festive holiday entries.

Palmetto College Campus Dean Michael Sonntag of University of South Carolina Sumter is parade grand marshal. USC Sumter students and athletic teams will take part in the parade.

Parade units will include local emergency service agencies: Sumter Police Department, Sumter County Sheriff's Office, Sumter Fire Department, Shaw Air Force Base Fire Department and Sumter County EMS. Many local churches and businesses will also be featured, as well as Shriner's organizations and other civic clubs.

Sumter, Lakewood and Crestwood high schools will be well represented with several parade entries, including AFJROTC units, cheerleaders, school queens, choruses and performances by the Sumter and Crestwood high school marching bands. Lake Marion High School will also be represented by its Junior Army ROTC.

Multiple elementary and middle schools are also participating including Archway Academy, Kids First Academy, Westside Christian Academy; Kingsbury, Millwood, Rafting Creek and Willow Drive elementary schools; and Bates, Furman, Hillcrest middle schools.

And dancers from Miss Libby's School of Dance, Freed School of Performing Arts, Dreamworks Dance Academy and Caroline Mack Center for the Arts will be dancing to the beat of your favorite holiday songs. Numerous area queens will be featured including Iris Festival Queens and Miss Swan Lake.

Evening Optimist Club thanks the following sponsors for their generous support of the Sumter Christmas Parade: Palmetto Health Tuomey Hospital, Pilgrim's Pride, Archway Academy, AllSouth Federal Credit Union, Hill Printing and SAFE Federal Credit Union.