Going into Christmas: Parades, festive nights, chances to help others abound in community
Thanksgiving community service has passed and Christmas giving is just getting started for the residents of Laurens County. Thanksgiving meals were served last week at Sanders Middle School in Laurens, Broad Street United Methodist Church and Geraldine’s Kitchen in Clinton. The Blood Connection came Monday to receive the gift of life from donors at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. Two other opportunities for community “donations” are planned by LCSO next month. The City of Clinton is preparing for two events - Thursday’s “It’s Christmas Time in the City” and Saturday’s annual Christmas Parade. Joanna-Woodson third and fourth graders will perform Thursday, 6 p.m., at Joanna’s Christmas tree lighting. Also Thursday evening, Bailey Manor Christmas Retirement Community will have activities to kickoff its Festival of Trees. For Clinton, “It’s Christmas Time in the City” will begin at 6 p.m. at The Depot with caroling. The city will come alive to the holiday season with lights and carriage rides in the uptown business district. Hot chocolate will be served in anticipation of Santa’s visit. At 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Laurens County Veterans Affairs Office will light the Hall of Heroes Memorial Christmas tree. The event will be on monument square at the historic courthouse in downtown Laurens. At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Clinton Christmas Parade will begin at East Maple Street and South Broad, continuing across the railroad tracks onto North Broad ending at the Family Dollar parking lot. Along the route, Clinton High JROTC cadets will collect toys for a Christmas toy drive in partnership with the YMCA and Clinton Middle School. Elsewhere, the Gray Court Christmas Parade will be at 2:30 p.m., and Laurens parade under the lights will begin at 5 p.m. Tours of the lights at Little River Park in Laurens will be the weekends of Dec. 9-10 and 16-17. On Dec. 11, the Mount Olive community in western Laurens County will play host to its annual parade at 3 p.m. Already in the festive spirit, Presbyterian College will invite everyone to “Come, All Ye Faithful” on Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. in Belk Auditorium. Tickets are available for purchase on the SeatYourself on-line ticketing. A PC announcement says, “Christmas at PC is an annual long-awaited tradition that allows students to break from the stress of finals and the last week of classes to enjoy the spirit of Christmas with friends and professors alike.” The 18th Annual “Christmas at PC 2016: Joyful and Triumphant!” will be staged by the music department including choirs, instrumental ensembles, pianists, readers, organists and bells. Preparations for this program began Aug. 20, and weekly rehearsals have transitioned into daily rehearsals in the week following Thanksgiving. With a Football at Yuletide theme, the Laurens County Touchdown Club will gift-wrap its All-County Team, Coach of the Year and Player of the Year awards in a year-end football celebration Dec. 7. Guest speaker will be Travell Wharton, South Carolina NFL standout. The annual banquet, sponsored by the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission, will be held at The Ridge recreation complex in Laurens. On Dec. 8, 5:30 p.m. on Torrington Road, the Laurens County Coroner’s Office will sponsor a program at Potter’s Field. The candle lighting will be for those remembered and unremembered buried at the cemetery for indigent people. Wrestlers will take to the square ring at the Laurens Exchange Building on Dec. 9 for the final Christmas for Kids wrestling event, sponsored by the Sheriff’s Office and Battlezone Wrestling. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and bell time will be 7 p.m., followed by an after-party. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 children, 10 and younger, and all proceeds benefit the program to buy, collect and distribute toys to needy, deserving children. Motorcyclists will do their part for Christmas for Kids on Dec. 10. At the Hillcrest Square Judicial-Services-Administration Center in Laurens, bikers will gather with new toys for the 7th Annual Toy Ride. Bikes will thunder out at 1 p.m. and will end their route, about 1:30, at the Laurens VFW. Earlier on Dec. 10, the Laurens YMCA will sponsor the 17th Annual Reindeer Run in downtown Laurens. The 5K walk-run will begin at 9 a.m., and the kids one-mile fun run gets underway at 9:05. Runners are invited to attend in their “reindeer best’ for the costume contest. Proceeds will benefit the Family YMCA of Greater Laurens “for youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibility.” At 3 p.m. on Dec. 10, motorcyclists and others will gather at The Waterhole in Laurens for a run to benefit EA’s Love for Life Foundation. Proceeds will benefit an effort to provide gas cards and hotel stays for women and families leaving domestic violence situations. On Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Consolidation Lodge will sponsors its annual bicycle give-away event at Buice Circle in Clinton. In addition to these and other holiday events, a District 56 calendar lists these activities for Clinton schools: --Dec. 8, 9 and 10, Clinton High School play; Dec. 8 and 9, CHS Senior Experience; --Dec. 12, Clinton Elementary caroling in the building at 6:30 p.m.; --Dec. 13, Clinton High JROTC fall awards program; Clinton Middle School band and chorus concert, 6 p.m.; --Dec. 15, Clinton High Badd-Jewels program, 6-9 p.m.; --Dec. 16, Clinton Elementary school play, 1:15 p.m.; --Dec. 19, Clinton High band and chorus program, 5 p.m.; Clinton Elementary book give-away with Santa, 8 a.m. until; Eastside Elementary parents to make a craft and watch Christmas program; and --Dec. 20, 8:30 a.m., Clinton Elementary school play, half day for students.