Southern 500 Parade seeks participants

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

The Southern 500 Parade was historically a highlight for residents of Darlington County and visiting race fans. For the first time since the 1980’s, the parade returns, thanks to the hard work of committee members Lee Andrews and Crystal Gibson of the Darlington Recreation Department, Lisa Chalian-Rock, Darlington’s City Planner, and community member Will Isgett.

The parade will be held on Saturday, September 5th beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the City Administration Building on 400 Pearl Street, heading straight to the Track Too Tough To Tame across Highway 151 and entering the infield at the Darlington Raceway via the historic tunnel.

A new twist will be added this year; the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade Committee invites participation in the Parade Float Competition of the Annual Southern 500 Parade, with a prizes awarded to floats voted “Best in Show.”

The Grand Marshall of the Parade will be Darlington native and famed NASCAR Pit Crew Chief Trent Owens.

A partial list of notable participants include:

Winner of the 2014 Bojangles Southern 500 NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick
NASCAR driver Jeff Burton
NBC on air race announcers Steven Latarte and Rick Allen
NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers
Lady in Black Kaitlyn Bailey, Darlington native
Roxie Buck, Star of TLC’s Myrtle Manor, Darlington native
Darlington High School Marching Band
Several Former Southern 500 Queens
Former Miss Darlington, Mrs. South Carolina and Mrs. USA Patsy Hathcock
Miss South Carolina titleholders from various pageants including S.C. Sweet Potato Festival
South Carolina legislators and dignitaries
Darlington City and Fire Departments
And many more!

Bojangles’ Southern 500 Parade float preparation requirements:

1. A completed float application form must be received no later than August 21, 2015. An 8”X10” sketch and /or photograph of each intended float design MUST accompany the application. Applications received after August 21, 2015, will be subject to an additional $20 late filing fee. No applications will be accepted after August 21, 2015.

2. ALL FLOATS MUST PROJECT A RACING THEME which relates to Southern 500 Race, NASCAR, and its celebration. Floats which are determined to be solely mobile advertising displays for commercial and/or for-profit entities will not be accepted.
3. The title of the float theme must appear on either side of float and can be of any size. Sponsorship sign, if any, is restricted to the REAR of the float only.

4. All floats should measure no higher than 13 feet 6 inches from the ground and should be able to maneuver around sharp corners on the parade route without difficulty. (Note: segments of the parade route are only two lanes wide).

5. No one under (10) years of age may appear as part of any entry unless accompanied by an adult.

6. Sound equipped entries must specify type of equipment, sound and repertoire of songs to be used on Float Application Form. Music, or other sounds projected must be consistent with the parade’s Race Theme. Sound must be projected from sides only and maintained at a volume low enough so as not to interfere with bands and other marching units participating. The Committee has the right to reserve and limit the number of floats with sound.
7. Drivers must be with vehicle at all times prior to and during parade.

8. Floats must arrive at the Edwards Avenue float assembly area no later than 5:00 p.m. The judging of floats will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. The parade will step-off promptly at 7:00 pm. In planning for parade day, we encourage participants to bring coolers with an appropriate supply of snacks and beverages for your group.

9. All floats are limited to 10 walkers. Walkers may walk in front of or behind the float ONLY. Walkers are not allowed to walk along the sides of the float.

The Float Preparation Requirements, 2015 Float Application Form, and Waiver of Liability and Float Judging Criteria, and Parade Rules & Regulations are available at the Darlington Recreation Department, City Administration Building; on the city website:; or may be emailed by request by contacting the Recreation Department at 843-398-4030.

The application, waiver of liability, fee must be accompanied by a sketch and/or photograph of the proposed float design postmarked no later than August 21, 2015.

The fees are: $35 for Queens / $50 for non profits / $300 for floats / $35 for cars.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact: 843-398-4030.

Author: Duane Childers

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