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Fourth of July Parades: Squeezing humor from life’s lemons

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A float larded with puns plucked the top trophy in this year’s Pawleys Island Fourth of July Parade from a flock of dynastic ducks. “You butter believe it!”

Pawley Deen’s Kitchen was put together by the Jackson family of Sumter. They benefited from the regular rainstorms that looked like they were going to steal a march on the parade. “It rained every day. We worked every day,” said Kelly Jackson, who wore the apron strings as the chastened celebrity chef making an “A-Pawley-gy Tour.”

Jackson waved a juicer at the crowds. “We’re turning life’s lemons into lemonade,” he cried.

The float took the trophy for Best Overall. Members of the Transplant Garden Club who judged the parade – Darlene Adams, Melodie Henderson, Susan Hibbs and Hilde Hopkins, assisted by Billy Felder – said they appreciated the wit.

The also appreciated the satire in the Mills family’s float, political satire, that is.

“Back on the Trail” featured John Mills as Mark Sanford and Andrew Mills as a buxom Maria Belen Chapur holding a sign that read “My Boyfriend’s Back!”

“Anytime we get a chance to poke a little fun at a political figure, we take it,” said Bert Mills, who drove the float. “It is Independence Day. It is about freedom of speech.”

The boat towed behind their pickup promoted a Sanford-Weiner ticket in 2016, referring to the sexting former congressman from New York who is now running for mayor.

The family has taken home several trophies over the years, but this year marked a first. They won Best Musical.

The trophy and a $250 check have always gone to performers, specifically The Grey Men. For the Millses it was for playing a recording of the Jackson 5 hit “I Want You Back.”

The judges said the song, with its chorus “Oh, baby, give me one more chance,” deserved recognition for integrating music and theme.

“It took a couple of minutes to sink in,” Bert Mills said. “My daughter figured it out.”

They planned to dine out on their winnings, but didn’t plan to take up any instruments for next year’s parade. “We’ll stick with what we know,” Mills said.

The deHaas, Visbaras, Jackson and Sarvis families will do the same. They tried politics. Once. They prefer humor.

As Pawleys Island Beach Bums, they won Most Humorous. “We were worried some people would be offended,” Brandy deHaas said.

By fake plastic buttocks? Never.

The beach bums took the Anglicized meaning of the word to spin a web of double entendres along the parade route. “Say no to crack,” read one sign on the flatbed trailer just below the many moons that seemed to shine from the plastic posteriors.

“We thought about ‘Duck Dynasty,’ but we knew a lot of people would do that,” deHaas said.

They were right. There was the Litchfield dynasty which had two live ducks in a cage on the hood of their pickup. There was the Pawleys Island Dynasty with its stuffed duck. (“We shot our duck,” said Beth Stuckey, after sizing up the Litchfield crowd.)

There was also a “Duck Commander.” What the floats shared, aside from their theme, was masses of fake beards. Kids on the Litchfield dynasty float wore Spanish moss beards.

There was so much duck to choose from that the judges decided to give one duck award. It went to the “Dock Dynasty” decorations at 564 Myrtle Ave.

Most Original went to the Willcox and Buyck families for “Super Heroes Gone Coastal” with kids dressed as Boatin’ Batman, Surfin’ Spider Man and other caped crusaders.

Best Kids went to the Pawleys Island All-Stars softball team. The coaches noticed when the all-star baseball team won an award last year. “That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Ed Janco, an assistant coach.

Most Enthusiastic went to the family of Jack and Kathleen Howard, which includes the Froelichs, Corleys and Gilroys. “Hatch This” was the theme with a trailered boat filled with people hooting and hollering, some wearing cutout paper turtle shells.

“It was done at 11 o’clock the night before,” said Cindy Corley. The signs were drawn with Sharpies on a tablecloth and urged people to turn out lights during sea turtle nesting season.

Most Patriotic was a flatbed truck entered by Frankie Marion that was packed with people waving flags.

There were three Honorable Mentions:

• The float entered by the Holland, Scott and Jeff families. “It was raining and there was no sun or anything so I thought, ‘Rain or Shine it’s Pawleys Time,’ ” said Pearce Scott of Florence, age 9-3/4;

• a Mini entered by John LeMaster that featured the Royal Baby on the roof;

• “The Lampes Are Coming,” a Paul Revere imitation that celebrated the Lampe family’s 42 years of parade-going.

SueAnn Crawford, who chaired the Don’t Box the Neck committee, that opposed a Walmart at Pawleys Island last year was the grand marshal. She rode in Jim Chaney’s 1936 Ford convertible, a car he said was built for parades.

Five generations fill dock for Murrells Inlet parade

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Leon and Jan Rice had five generations of their family on the dock at Marshmere, their home at Murrells Inlet, for the 30th annual Fourth of July Boat Parade.

Leon said he was tired of getting honorable mention awards, so family members went all out when the judges’ boat passed their dock, decorated with the theme “Palmetto Pride Pub: It’s always 5 o’clock at Marshmere.”

Their efforts paid off. Marshmere won first place in the dock division. Dexter and Kelly Dorman took second; Ron and Linda Mathews were third. Honorable mentions went to Lester Branham and Robin Edwards.

Jan Rice said family members came from California, Colorado and Arizona. Eighteen-month-old Ford Carmines added a fifth generation celebrating from the Rice dock for the parade.

Allison Wendelberger of San Francisco said she has seen every one, either in a boat or on the dock. “It’s a great day and a great tradition,” she said.

Leon Rice said the first boat parade was “kind of an impromptu thing” organized by Bob Hendrick 30 years ago. Now even the dock competition has gotten fierce, he said.

Rice’s neighbor, Sonny Goldston at Kings Krest, was entertaining participants in the parade with guitar music until he was squirted a few times by water guns and had to flee. “We are good Sandlappers,” he said.

For his part, founder Hendrick said he’s in the parade every year. “It’s always been good,” he said. “We had an unbelievable number of spectators.”

The Murrells Inlet parade fluctuates with the tide, and it was scheduled for 5 p.m. this year. Most boats were decorated with flags and balloons. Rod Swaim took first place with a boatload of palmetto bugs that followed the “Palmetto Pride, Inlet Tide” theme. A placard on Swaim’s boat paid homage to palmetto trees, the palmetto moon, the palmetto dog and “don’t forget the bugs.”

“My grandkids were here,” Swaim said, “and everybody wanted to get into the parade.” He said the idea for palmetto bugs seemed like a natural with the parade theme, and he ordered seven cockroach outfits on the Internet. He kept the “bugs” wet so the outfits wouldn’t get too hot. “Thank goodness it was a nice day,” he added. “The parade was a lot of fun, and we were thrilled to see that many people.”

Teresa Woddell’s boat with the theme “Duck Dynasty” was second, and Ed Burzler’s “Card Board Beach” boat was third. Honorable mentions were presented to Rachel Fink for “Sailors” and Robby Byrum for “Uncle Sam and Palmetto Tree.”

Lee Hewitt, boat parade chairman, said he was grateful for the sunny day after so much rain. “And for 5 o’clock,” he said, “it was a well-behaved crowd.”

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