Watch as the Marching 101 of S.C. State, The Blue Machine of Edisto High School and the Orange Crush of Orangeburg-Wilkinson entertain at the Orangeburg County Christmas Parade.

The Orangeburg County Christmas Parade brought smiles to faces along Russell Street on Sunday.

Bowman Mayor Patsy Rhett was among the crowd in Orangeburg.

“It means a lot. It brings the community together and the people get to see their children and grandchildren and just enjoy this season of the year,” Rhett said.

Many others agreed.

“It sets off the holiday spirit. We love seeing the different floats and the school bands,” Jacqueline Butler said.

Anna Cocke said, “It’s Christmas. Who doesn’t love Christmas? And getting the community involved as much as possible is always a great thing for everyone around.”

Katie Arrowood said, “We have something that we can all look forward to and come together as a community.”

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For some, the parade is a tradition that they’ve taken part in since they were children.

“This is my first time coming back to the parade and probably 20 years since I used to be a part of it,” Cocke said.

“I’m just excited to see all the kids in the community come together for work and this is the first time for my kids to be added, too, so I’m so excited to see it through their eyes,” Cocke said.

Arrowood said, “I think it’s a blessing that we can all still come and enjoy it as a family and pass it down to them as we used to do as kids.”

The children were excited to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Each of them had wishes and wants for their Christmas gifts.

“I want slime,” Zia Chavis said.

“A drone and a PS5,” Jayden Graves said.

“I want a gumball machine,” sister Karmen Graves said.

The parade included school bands and floats from different organizations around the Orangeburg area.

The parade marshals were the members of the South Carolina State University football team, led by head coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough.

Butler said the parade, “sets the tone of peace and goodwill.”

“I am so excited because this is (grandson) Derick Butler Jr.’s first year and I’m excited for him to experience the holiday season,” Butler said.

Amanda Charley said, “I’m looking forward to seeing the children because Christmas is a great time of year to spend with your family and the kids. I know they’re (children) excited, so I’m excited.

“I’m also a teacher, so I’m also here to support as well.”

The parade winners will be announced by the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.

Terry Benjamin II, a Claflin University mass communications senior, is reporting for The Times and Democrat as a Lee Enterprises-sponsored news-sports intern.

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