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Fourth of July activities: 11:15 a.m. - Pawleys Island

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Even spectators have their traditions when it comes to the Pawleys Island Fourth of July Parade.

“The reason no one gets here before us is that they know it’s our space,” said Pat Hoerner Chase as she and her daughter, Amanda, settled in on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Pavilion Drive to watch last year’s parade.

Chase said they always sit in the same spot at the edge of the Pawleys Island Nature Park.

The parade starts from the South Causeway, loops around the Birds Nest section on the south end, then heads north again on Myrtle Avenue. The judges watch from Town Hall.

The parade then loops around the north end and floats exit on the North Causeway.

Many spectators gather at both causeway intersections, although parking is more plentiful at the North Causeway.

Those who watch from the South Causeway get two looks at the parade.

It can take 45 minutes to an hour for the parade to reach Town Hall. The town limits the length of floats to make sure they can negotiate turns in the Birds Nest, but last year just the mass of floats and spectators caused delays.

Some spectators bring umbrellas and awnings. Others get shady spots along Myrtle Avenue at the nature park.

There are three basic elements to a float in the Pawleys Island parade: a truck, a trailer, and a kid. Everything else is just a variation on the theme.

Floats are judged in eight categories, but not everyone goes for the gold. Tossing some kids and some flags in a boat on a trailer and letting them hoot and holler is a time-honored tradition.

Others stretch the fun by spending a year thinking about their floats. Topics are often ripped from the headlines, then given a Pawleys twist. Politics and pop culture frequently feature in the floats.

While flags and all forms of red, white and blue decorations are common, they aren’t the rule. Last year’s overall winner was just red. It featured a group of kids in a giant crab trap built on a trailer. “Eat Mor Fish” was the title.

It costs $15 to enter in advance at Town Hall or $20 on the day at the South Causeway. That includes a T-shirt.

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