DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The Southern 500 Parade came back to town for the first time since 2003 with the efforts of the Darlington Area Recreation Department, the City of Darlington, and the Darlington Raceway.
Hundreds of people gathered along Pearl Street in Darlington Saturday evening for the parade.
“You know there’s a whole generation that probably doesn’t remember the Southern 500 parade and its just you know hoping to bring back that old feeling,” Matt Haynie said.
“It’s a cultural awareness for everybody. I want my children to know what the Darlington parade stands for,” said Joan Alston.
Former Miss Southern 500 Pageant winners, dignitaries, the Shriners, area high school marching bands, and others participated in the parade.
Its been more than 10 years since the last Miss Southern 500 was crowned.
“The Southern 500 was one of the best years of my life, just being in the pageant and the Miss South Carolina pageant and representing Darlington and the 500,” Danyele Gardner said.
Kaitlyn Bailey is Darlington Raceway’s “Lady in Black”. Bailey has held this position for two years and there is nothing more special than helping celebrate a tradition that has been long overdue.
“This is really monumental not only for our town but for our racetrack. As you see tradition has returned this year on Labor Day and we’re just so excited for all the events and everything surrounding this weekend’s race.”
The parade started at City Hall and continued down Pearl Street to the track and into the infield.
According to organizers more than 81 cars and floats participated in the parade.