Drive-through parade to be held Saturday

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

Charleston will be having a Christmas in the Heart of Charleston Drive-Through Parade on Saturday from 5 to 6 p.m.

The festivities will begin with a Christmas tree lighting, which will be happening on the Facebook Live of “Christmas at the Heart of Charleston” Facebook page starting at 4:45 p.m. The lighting will be happening right before the parade, then the parade will open up for attendees to enjoy.

The drive-through parade will then be happening around Charleston Town Square, with cars entering on 7th Street and making their way through the parade. Because this event has to be a low contact event in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, no walkers are allowed on the square. People not in cars will be asked to leave.

Diane Ratliff, Charleston resident and Chair of the “Christmas at the Heart of Charleston Committee,” explained that in order to efficiently run this event this year, things had to be done a little differently.

“Christmas in the Heart of Charleston is a long-standing tradition in Charleston, but this year, because of the COVID-19 restrictions, we had to change up the way we did it, but we wanted to make sure we still had something for the families and children to participate in,” Ratliff said.

She explained that the parade will feature lit parade floats, festive displays, and inflatables that will be parked on the sides of streets. People will get to see the beautiful displays as they drive through the streets of the Square.

Attendees will also get the opportunity to see Santa and his reindeer, who will be at the end of the drive-through parade. At the parade, people will also be giving away treat bags to the first 500 children ages 12 and younger that pass through the parade.

The Charleston Area Churches Food Pantry will also be partaking in the festivities, running a food drive at the parade so families can receive the help they need during the holiday season. As it says on the “Christmas in the Heart of Charleston” Facebook page, they are asking people to bring non-perishable food or cash donations to “fill the stockings for the Charleston Food Pantry!”

Other organizations in the area will be participating at this event, bringing their own holiday-themed displays and floats to share with the community.

“We have a lot of the local emergency services and local businesses that are putting up displays,” Ratliff said.

Some Eastern Resident Student Organizations will also be participating at the parade.

Other Christmas festivities will be happening in the next couple of weeks, all of which are free.

Ratliff explained that back in November, the committee gave out art kits and ginger bread houses, which will be on display throughout the Charleston Town Square the entire month of December.

“It will be to encourage families to come out and shop, as well as look at the arts and crafts items that are on display,” she said.

Dec. 1 to Dec. 23, people can partake in the Movie Character Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Cooper Bumpus Insurance Agency. For the scavenger hunt, people have to visit the 22 “Christmas in the Heart of Charleston” sponsors and look for a poster of a Christmas movie character.

The people must then identify which movie that character is from and submit their answers to a Google form found on the “Christmas at the Heart of Charleston” Facebook page by December 23 at noon. Whoever has the most correct answers by then will win a prize.

Ratliff also explained that they have a hotline to Santa where families can fill out information or send a letter to Santa and Santa will call their child. They also have a Spirit of the Holidays Outdoor Decorating Contest that Charleston residents can participate in.

To learn more information about the Christmas festivities and events happening in the next couple of weeks, people should check out the “Christmas in the Heart of Charleston” Facebook page.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]