Patriotism abounds in Clarendon for July 4

BY SHARRON HALEY
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 6/29/18

MANNING - Wednesday will be a time of fireworks, parades and patriotism throughout Clarendon.

At 10 a.m., the "Biggest Little Parade in South Carolina" will take to the streets of Eagle Point Subdivision, just off S.C. 260 before the Wilson Dam. …

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Patriotism abounds in Clarendon for July 4

Posted

MANNING - Wednesday will be a time of fireworks, parades and patriotism throughout Clarendon.

At 10 a.m., the "Biggest Little Parade in South Carolina" will take to the streets of Eagle Point Subdivision, just off S.C. 260 before the Wilson Dam. The tradition began more than a decade ago when the late Al Cothran, a Navy veteran who dressed as Uncle Sam, and his neighbors paraded through their community in their golf carts, cars, bicycles, even a float or two all decked out in red, white and blue.

Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock, who is also captain of Wyboo Fire Station and lives in the Eagle Point area, is part of the annual event driving Wyboo Station 4's big, white fire truck complete with lights and sirens.

After parading through the community, everyone gathers for a cup of lemonade and a couple of homemade cookies, and then it's home for individual celebrations.

Across the county in the New Zion community, another parade kicks off at 10 a.m. While the Eagle Point parade may be small, the New Zion Parade is unique in its own right. The parade begins along Salem Road west of New Zion, travels through the quaint Southern community, turns around at New Zion United Methodist Church and travels back through New Zion, ending up where it began.

The members of American Legion Post 149 and Auxiliary Unit 149 have collected more than 55 American flags through the years to showcase throughout New Zion.

"We have 55 American flags that we're flying on July Fourth," Bob Gibbons, a former commander of American Legion Post 149, said a few years ago. "We have one flag for each of the 50 states plus a flag for departments in China, Philippines, Mexico, Peru and France, which includes the European countries."

Their flags have been mounted on poles along the parade route leading into New Zion from U.S. 301.

The New Zion parade features golf and go carts, tractors, bicycles, floats, cars, politicians, local celebrities, beauty queens and even a couple of country folks decked out in camo.

After the parade, everyone gathers at New Zion UMC to enjoy a patriotic program honoring all local veterans and all branches of the military.

That evening, everyone gathers back in downtown New Zion for a 5 p.m. cookout with music, a cornhole tournament and plenty of time to chat with friends, family and visitors. At 9:30 p.m., all the attention turns skyward as the community's skies light up with fireworks.

The City of Manning isn't about to be outdone. It kicks off its celebration the night before July Fourth with the City of Manning's Independence Day Red, White and Blue Celebration in the municipal parking lot at the Red Barn at the corner of Boyce and Church streets. From 7 p.m. until midnight, there will be food, music by The Touch Band, face painting, balloon art, and, when the sky darkens, fireworks will light up Manning.

Several locations around the lake will also feature fireworks on July Fourth.

Camp Happy Days at Camp Bob Cooper will have a monster fireworks display for its campers and can be seen for miles around, especially if you're out on your boat.

LakeVue Landing and Goat Island Restaurant annually host fireworks displays for their patrons.