MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT -- style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"> The Beaufort Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual holiday weekend December 1 to the 3. The holiday weekend consisted of Beaufort’s A Night on the Town, Light up the Night boat parade, and the annual Christmas parade.
Beaufort began its annual holiday weekend on the evening of Dec.1 with its Night on the Town. During the night on the town businesses stayed open late so residents could get their Christmas shopping done and see what the entire town has to offer. All of downtown Bay Street was shut down and vendors lined the street so citizens could try the various booths and watch street artists perform.
“The holiday season has a very special place in the heart of this town,” said Pat Jeurgen, a local business owner. “Just seeing all these crowds of people coming out together to celebrate the holidays together and support one another seriously warms my heart and reminds me of what makes this town so special.”
The second night of the holiday weekend was the Light up the Night boat parade. The event was hosted by the Beaufort Sail & Power Squadron and Main Street Beaufort, USA on Dec. 2. Marines, civilians and their families sat in the Waterfront Park downtown as they watched different boats and ships that were adorned in lights and decorations as they sailed along the Beaufort River.
“Where I’m from there really isn’t a whole lot of community outreach this time of the year. It’s really nice and refreshing seeing a real old-fashioned town that’s all coming together and bonding during the holiday season,” said Lance Cpl. AnthonyTippit, an air crew specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to be stationed in such a great area of the country where they value the little things in life.”
The annual Beaufort Christmas parade wrapped up the holiday themed weekend on Dec. 3. Marines of the Tri-Command, residents of Beaufort, and their families lined the streets to watch dozens of floats drive from the Beaufort National Cemetery through downtown Boundary Street ending at the waterfront. The parade was spearheaded by the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Band who played Christmas songs as well as traditional Marine Corps marching music. They were followed closely by Gunny Clause, a volunteer who sported a white beard and red campaign cover while atop a WWII era jeep. The rest of the parade was made up floats that included the Beaufort chamber of commerce, local schools, and organizations that are involved in the local area.
“I have never seen a parade this long before in my life, especially one where the whole town and parade is dressed head to toe in Christmas decorations,” said Cpl. Brett Merall, a Cryogenic specialist with Marine Aviation Logistic Squadron 31. “It’s really nice seeing Marines able to get out of the barracks and come downtown and interact with not only one another but with the local population as well. Coming together as a community and celebrating the holiday season is what this time of the year is all about, and I honestly can’t imagine anywhere else that does it better than Beaufort, South Carolina.”