Hometown spirit is hallmark of parade

I heard a story the other day about a resident of Mount Pleasant who lost his keys at a local service station.

The attendant who found the keys noticed a library card on the chain and called the library, where they were able to track down the owner of the keys and let him know where they had been lost.

That's one of the great things about living in a small town: Your keys don't stay lost for long. And that's the kind of place to which the Mount Pleasant Community Events Committee invites you next weekend for a Christmas celebration.

Each year, the highlight of the party is the Christmas parade, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs down Main Street from the middle school on N.C. 49.

As usual, the parade will feature fire engines, horses, clowns, beauty queens, the Mount Pleasant High School Marching Band and lots of hometown spirit.

That hometown spirit will be embodied by the parade's grand marshal, Buddy Pavlakos, owner of Buddy's Place restaurant in Mount Pleasant. Located in the heart of town, Buddy's Place is a popular eating establishment.

But even more important, Buddy and his family have done "a tremendous amount of volunteer work for the community," according to Troy Barnhardt, who heads the organizing committee for the celebration.

From the schools and the library to the museum and Relay For Life, folks know that Pavlakos will help.

This year, those attending the festivities in Mount Pleasant can help in a new and special way: the Betty and Larry Honeycutt Toy Drive, organized by Revolution Church.

This year, look for donation barrels around town, where you are asked to leave a new toy to brighten a child's Christmas. In the past the church would sponsor a big event for the community, Pastor Don Horn said. But this year decided to use the money it had spent on the event to buy toys instead.

Named in honor of two Mount Pleasant residents who, for years, ensured that local families had all they needed at Christmas, the toy drive will provide gifts for kids who otherwise might not get any. With the help of school counselors and social workers, donations will go to local families.

The church will collect donations at the Lions' hut near Town Hall after the parade Saturday. Horn said monetary gifts are welcome as well.

The celebration isn't over when the parade ends. Children are invited to meet Santa at the Senior Center at noon, and the tree lighting is at 5 p.m. with cookies, cocoa and music from the Mount Pleasant High School Chorus.

Saturday will be a wonderful day to celebrate the season with friends and neighbors. Don't miss it.