Tales From Pawleys Island: 4th of July Parade: When it Used to be “A Local Thing”

Plane Commercial Entry

July 4th Pawleys 1988

In the days of Harry Berry, house parties, thumper in the front yard with Three Dog Night (1968-1970) blaring from the windows, the 4th of July was a wild and crazy day on Pawleys. Someone, anyone of a few would have a huge wooden jug or tin barrel of an alcoholic concoction we called “Purple Jesus” made of grain alcohol and various juices loaded in the back of a truck or car. It was of course free to all who were out and about. Everyone knew one another or were friends in common. The sisses  who couldn’t take it straight often injected the “PJ” as it was called for short, into watermelon, which was a delightful way to get a great buzz!

Pretty soon, as the cars accumulated in one or two locations, on either end of the island, folks waxed patriotic, purchased flags, banners, head bands, tee shirts and sporting the red, white and blue formed a line from south to north and visa versa. Wha Lah , a parade happened! The Pawleys Island 4th of July Parade was born: glorious and joyfully spontaneous!

These parades continued for several years and were joined by summer renters who were zealous for the cause. Over time the parade grew in numbers with those adding the pulling of decorated boats, overflowing flatbeds with singing hippies and those who preferred beach music. All were accepted and welcomed. As far as I can remember, there was never any trouble, no law enforcement was needed and a great time was had by all! The freedom to join in and be spontaneous was the key!

Sadly, in the mid-1980’s, the Town of Pawleys Island incorporated. All fun began to come to an end. Period. The 4th of July parade of 1988 was the first one with RULES. Rule #1: No Plane Commercial Entries. Many of us who were the charter members of the very 1st parade were sad, frustrated, and feeling somewhat rebellious. Our family decided to enter with a Plane Commercial Entry. The photo is above. In the parade that year were many fancy well-done floats, expertly decorated. Our truck and sign however got more applause and cheers than all of those floats put together!

ps: We did not have any “PJ” I am sorry to say:(

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