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Pawleys Island: It never rains on this parade

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Anyone stuck for an idea for this year’s Pawleys Island Fourth of July Parade didn’t have to look farther than the Weather Channel. But that’s the only influence Tropical Storm Arthur will have on Friday’s parade.

Of course tropical weather can be fickle, but the parade has history on its side. “It’s never been rained out. Ever,” said Sally Keyser. She hasn’t been to every parade. She wasn’t even born in 1966 when her great-grandmother Nancy “Miss B” Bondurant started the Pawleys Island tradition. She checked with her mother, though.

Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis also did some checking. He couldn’t find anybody that remembered rain at the parade. “It’s amazing,” he said. “I can remember it hot.”

He said earlier this week, when the storm track was still uncertain, that he wasn’t going to cancel the parade whatever the weather. The threat was enough to slow early registrations and even prompt a few questions about refunds, just in case.

“We’re going to have a parade,” was the mayor’s reply.

Brandy deHaas and her family and friends started work on their float yesterday. It wasn’t the weather, but the result of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Belgium that they were waiting for. “We’re all soccer fans,” she said.

They won the trophy for Most Original in 2010 with a World Cup theme. Gone are the vuvuzelas. You’ll know this year’s entry from the caxirolas, Brazil’s official noisemaker. They’ll celebrate the U.S. team in spite of Tuesday’s loss and the Netherlands, the family favorite.

Keyser and her three sons were also at work on their float. They and their friends won for Best Children in 2012, the last year Keyser’s grandmother Nancy Wilson rode in the parade before her death.

“The Fourth of July is just as important as Christmas in our family,” she said. It’s part of their family history, but the boys also appreciate the connection with America’s history, Keyser said.

The Transplants, a one-time garden club that reaped a bushel of parade trophies, will judge the parade again. Three more honorable mention trophies were added, for a total of six this year.

They’ll review the floats from Town Hall. A broken sewer line across the street means “it’s a little odoriferous around Town Hall,” Otis said.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. from the South Causeway. Register early at Town Hall or on the causeway from 9:30 a.m. Friday.

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