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Fourth of July: Murrells Inlet parade floats patriotic themes

By Roger Greene
Coastal Observer

From the festive scenes along the Marsh Walk to the more serene setting of Morse Park Landing, revelers celebrated July 4 in true Murrells Inlet fashion during the 29th annual boat parade.

For some families the parade is a traditional holiday ritual, while others, who were attending for the first time, promised the parade will become a must-see event in the future.

“This is the first year we’ve attended and we will be back,” said Socastee resident Vicki Young. “We had a great time.”

“We come down every year, it’s part of our family vacation,” said Janice Owens, who hails from Florence. “It’s a good family activity. It’s about celebrating our country and being thankful we have the freedom to enjoy things like this.”

Boats of all shapes and sizes made the voyage from Garden City Point to Morse Park Landing, cruising under the morning sun and entertaining the crowds that had gathered along the Marsh Walk, behind areas like Belin United Methodist Church and on the many docks that lead to the inlet.

Patriotism was the theme of the day, with the stars and stripes being on full display. Both the University of South Carolina and Clemson were also well-represented, and the celebratory atmosphere served to highlight the inlet lifestyle so many relish.

North Carolina native Jonathan Geiss brought home the top prize in the boat decorating contest, his tiki-themed entry best capturing the spirit of the day.

“My mother was the brains of our operation,” Geiss said. “The tiki theme was her idea. We transported the hut down and put it on the boat last night. It took about four hours to get everything together, we kind of made it up as we went along.

“It’s a good time on the water, seeing the crowd and the other boats. It’s fun for us to show our artistic side and see what we can do to make our boat stand out.”

Whether a no-frills approach or those who go all in like Geiss or the bagpiper who played his way down the channel, most boats have a way of standing out.

“The bagpiper was great,” Mark Young said. “Everybody loved him. And the tiki boat was really cool. That was a good idea.”

While the Fourth of July is a time of celebration, Vietnam veteran Blair Owens took a moment to reflect on the holiday’s deeper meaning.

“This is the greatest country in the world,” Owens said. “And we shouldn’t forget the sacrifices that were made so we can celebrate it.”

Socastee resident Larry McCoy took second in the boat decorating contest and Surfside’s John Hanna was third. Dexter and Kelly Dorman placed took the top prize for best dock, with Margaret Ann May second, and Ron and Linda Mathews third.

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