Friday, January 4, 2013
Hundreds gathered in the Oatland Community of northwestern Georgetown County for the annual News Year’s Day Parade.
The parade featured church groups, marching bands, floats, motorcycle clubs, antique cars, horseback riders and a host of various other groups.
The parade was started in 1999 by Jeff Holmes and the late Rosco Holmes.
Ericka Holmes, Rosco’s daughter, said she will continue to keep the legacy as long as she can make it happen.
“My father always wanted something for the community to come together for other than a death in the community,” Holmes said.
“Jay Russell Reed and Kenny Johnson assisted my father with their ideas, and started picking different people from the community that helped them with coordinating the yearly parade.”
“It’s gotten bigger every year, and some said that this is the biggest one ever,” added Holmes.
The parade began at noon on Oatland Street and proceeded to St. Paul’s AME church.
This year’s grand marshal was the Rev. Justin Gamble of Mt. Sinai church.
There were over 40 participants in the parade.
Some of the highlights of the parade were the Ridge Riders horseback group, whose horses danced down Oatland Street.
Another attraction were the tractor trailer trucks that were decorated with balloons, they’re drivers blowing their loud horns and waving to the crowd.
A sign on one of the trucks read Happy News from Anderson Trucking.
Club Isis was also a main attraction.
D.J. Tony Ford played the hit song “Wobble” by rapper V.I.C. and the children on the back of the trailer were doing the wobble dance.
People watching the parade began singing the song as the group passed.
Last but not least was the race to the finish, as children ran towards the floats and cars as candy was being thrown out.
Adrianna Dennison, 13, of Georgetown, said she enjoyed everything about the parade.
As a family tradition, many families along Oatland Road set up food booths in front of their homes and hung out with family and friends.
Martha Dozier, a resident on Oatland Street, said she looks forward to the parade each year.
Her daughter Dianna Canteen was selling hog maws, a southern African-American dish which was her specialty.
Across the street Silas Richard, who along with his sister, Brenda Richard and family set up a tent selling funnel cakes.
Celebration at St. Paul’s Church
At the conclusion of the parade many gathered at St. Paul’s Church.
Reed said they always have a spiritual program after the parade.
“We always give out free gifts and free food,” he said. “We first started out with just a few guys in the group and we financed everything out of our own pockets, but now the churches and local businesses got involved and help out.”
The Heavenly Praise group sang several gospel songs.
The keynote speaker was state Sen. Yancey McGill.
He acknowledged a moment of silence with Bishop Floyd Knowlin for members of Light House church who were killed in a tragic car accident recently.
He spoke on unity, love, and compassion.
At the conclusion of the program free food and beverages were provided.
By Rounette Johnson
For The Times
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