CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - While the Coronavirus pandemic may be canceling many holiday festivities across America, several of them are still happening in the Lowcountry despite public health concerns.
Monks Corner is one of the first to kick off the Christmas festivities this weekend. The town says they will be hosting their annual Christmas tree lighting Friday night, and their Christmas parade Saturday.
Although there will be some changes, masks and social distancing are not a requirement.
The town says they are is limiting the length of the Christmas parade and reducing its size by 30% from previous years. Whereas there are normally about 100 floats, this year there will be about 70.
Moncks Corner Representative Molly Willard says there are only two walking groups allowed in the parade, and they are required to wear masks.
Willard says there will be no marching bands or other large groups this year. For the tree lighting, She says there will be no live music, but there will be train rides, food, a meet and great with Santa, and dance performances.
The Monks Corner Police Department will be all hands on deck for the festivities, and Willard says they will have masks on hand to give to people. However, she says no one will be required to wear them.
Willard was pressed on why the town was moving forward with events that invite the community to gather despite warnings from health officials. She said that after 25 years of hosting them, the town wanted to make sure the festivities happened this year too.
“Even in difficult times, tradition matters,” Willard says. “Even if it is a truncated event, a shorter parade, a smaller tree lighting ceremony. It’s good to do what you can under the circumstances while encouraging everybody to do what is safe for them and their family.”
No items will be handed out during the parade, and Willard says floats will not be allowed to interact with spectators.
Summerville DREAM, the organization that hosts the Summerville Christmas parade, says they will also go forward with their festivities but they have put some restrictions on floats this year.
Summerville DREAM Executive Director Steve Doniger says they plan on cutting half their normal number of floats for the parade.
The Summerville parade will happen next week, and Doniger says it will last about an hour and a half this year, whereas in previous years it lasted about two and a half hours.
Doniger assures the shorter route will allow the floats to keep more distance between each other, but nevertheless they are recommending everyone on floats to wear a mask. He says there will not be handouts for spectators.
The town is limiting floats and entries to 25 people and Doniger says floats that have 25 people or more are being split into smaller groups.
The parade will also be live streamed for the first time this year, the town said.
As for spectator requirements, Summerville representative Mary Edwards says the town expects the public to follow guidelines set by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
There are no town mandates pertaining to masks or social distancing outside.
Doniger says since the route is over a mile long, the town wants to recommend that everyone spread out to enjoy the parade.
“There’s plenty of places where they can stretch out and stay in their small groups, stay with their families or friends,” Doniger said. “And we recommend doing that; staying there and being about 6 feet away from other guests that are there.”
Sullivan’s Island officials say they will be kicking off their annual holiday festivities at Stith Park with fireworks. Middle Street will be closed between Station 20 and Station 22 to allow for social distancing while people watch fireworks, officials say.
Sullivan’s Island says Santa will not be able to attend this year, and the town will not be serving pizza.
The Town of Mount Pleasant says it will be hosting its annual Christmas parade next weekend and they do recommend wearing a mask.
North Charleston and the City of Charleston have both canceled their Christmas parades, but North Charleston officials say the city will be holding a Christmas tree lighting Friday night with food trucks.