Friday, May 16, 2014
More than 1,500 people gathered Saturday night, according to Habitat for Humanity, to remember a place most of them never saw, to hear a band that experienced its greatest successes during a time that is a distant memory and to help an organization that helps people most of them don’t know.
Organizers of the Pawleys Pavilion Reunion had things well in hand. Shuttle buses took people from the Waccamaw Community Church to the entry gate at the Causeway, where reunion attendees got wristbands and could purchase food and drink tickets. From there, a parade of golf carts ferried people to the Nature Park entry.
Once they were deposited at the park entrance, guests were on their own. They unloaded quickly, claiming their spots around the dance floor and stage.
Early arrivals headed to the food and drink area, feasting on barbecue, shrimp, she-crab soup and key-lime pie, provided by the main food vendors – Hog Heaven and Hanser’s Fish House – washed down with beer, wine, water and soft drinks.
The state’s two major universities – Clemson and the University of South Carolina – were well represented by chairs boosting the two schools, and some guests took some good-natured ribbing as they invaded territory claimed by rival schools.
Clemson supporter Jewell McLaurin integrated a group of USC supporters, and he gave his friend Debbie Wilson a bit of a hard time.
“She’s a Clemson grad,” he said, looking over the USC chair that Wilson was unfolding. “But she married a USC grad.”
For Elton Richardson, the event was all about the music. A member of the headlining entertainment, The Tams, Richardson said he enjoys hitting the road for performances.
Although he’s a relative newcomer to the group, which has been entertaining beach music lovers for more than 60 years, he said the sound that the group made famous, remains. Of course, the band has adapted to changing musical tastes – to a point. “We don’t do rap,” he said with a grin.
Perhaps the most excited person there was Teresa Pringle of Georgetown, who plans to move into her Habitat for Humanity-built home this year.
Proceeds from the event go to Habitat and Pringle, who is getting the first two-story house to be built by the local Habitat organization.
“After 16 years of renting, I’m ready for my own place,” she said.
It was the chance to dance that lured Paul and Fran Collins. “We’re ballroom dancers, primarily, but we love to dance,” said Paul Collins.
And dance they did. A light but steady breeze kept the sweat and bugs away, and as the clock wound to the 6:45 p.m. start, the conversations got a bit quieter and more than a few feet got moving.
Al and Lauren Joseph kicked things off with the official first dance. The couple met on the dance floor at the Pawleys Pavilion Reunion three years ago and recently married. Once the Josephs completed their solo dance, the dance floor quickly became filled with shaggers, line dancers, oldsters and youngsters.
Clinton Crick was cutting a fancy figure with his granddaughter, Rebecca Crick, 4. She was his second partner of the night. He also danced with her Rebecca’s older sister.
“This is a chance for families,” he said.
It’s also a chance for memories. “My parents brought us here,’ he said. “Of course, it was a different place then.”
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