AP NEWS

North Augusta holds Christmas parade

December 3, 2018

NORTH AUGUSTA — The clouds parted — or at least quit watering most of Aiken County — just in time for the North Augusta Lions Club’s Christmas parade Sunday, and the timing allowed spectators, bands, businesses, clubs, churches and other organizations to make their way onto Martintown Road and Georgia Avenue for the hour-long procession.

“Christmas Around the World” was the parade theme, and participants responded with a variety of international tweaks and additions to their floats, vehicles and costumes.

This year’s grand marshal was Carolyn Baggott, known to many as a longtime North Augusta City Council member and also as the wife of the late Jim Baggott, who provided Santa service for North Augusta from 1971 through 2017.

Another honored guest was 5-year-old Easton Ivey, who narrowly survived a calamity several weeks ago and found himself, Sunday afternoon, riding in a North Augusta Department of Public Safety fire truck that was also hauling a red-suited, jolly old elf and his wife at the end of the parade.

Easton, a kindergartner at Mossy Creek Elementary, sustained severe facial injuries and leg damage in being attacked by a dog Oct. 31. He has undergone a variety of surgeries since then, and his mom, Kellie Wilcox, commented Sunday that North Augusta Department of Public Safety employees have been “very awesome” and “amazing” in treating Easton as a family member in the attack’s aftermath. Easton is looking to be back in school in January or February, once he has normal use of his legs, she added.

This year’s top honors, in the parade’s commercial category, went to one of Aiken County’s most prominent new organizations, as the Augusta GreenJackets (whose base of operations is now in North Augusta, at SRP Park) got the most votes. Following were North Augusta School of Dance and Premier Martial Arts, in that order.

Tom Denlinger, the GreenJackets’ vice president, credited Debbie Brown, the team’s business manager, with excellent work in parade preparation. “She is very artistic and put our float together with the theme of ‘Christmas Around the World,’” he said, noting that the team’s offerings also included chewing gum for spectators.

“We love being in North Augusta and participating in community events, and this is one of those that has become a tradition, and this year, we were fortunate enough to win, so that’s crazy.”

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Belvedere bagged first prize in the noncommercial ranks, followed in order by Hammond Grove Word Power Ministry and a dance team from Rhythm and Class Dance Studio.

The parade began as a cooperative project of the North Augusta Jaycees and Augusta Jaycees, and the North Augusta Lions Club assumed leadership of the event in the early to mid 1960s when the North Augusta Jaycees disbanded.