The Intracoastal Christmas Regatta is a traditional
holiday kick off on the waterway in Little River and North Myrtle Beach. It began in 1984 when Susie Watson,
her husband Royce and her Uncle Poo McLauchlin were reminiscing about a trip to Florida where they had seen a boat parade.
The fishing tournament season was over and the weather was still nice, so the three hatched a plan.
Christmas Regatta quickly became a tradition within the boating community along the Northern Horry County part
of the waterway and it soon grew to be too much for just the three to handle. In the sixth year of the event, Pam Alexander and Dawn Fowler joined in on the efforts
of the Watsons and Captain Poo. Since that time Ginny Maynard, Penelope Hinson, Ann Maynard, Sarah Faulk, Jackie
Perry-Medlin, Helen Bush, Tommae Riley, Lisa Stacy and Cathy Honeycutt have joined to make up the current committee.
Each committee member has their own specific assignment to help prepare for the event and all credit their families, friends
and co-workers with helping them accomplishing their goals.
The Intracoastal Christmas Regatta is more than just a
boat parade. Through fund-raising activities and toy drives, an impact is made on the community and the lives of children
throughout Horry County who, for some reason or another, might be falling through the cracks of traditional agencies that
Committee members rely on the counselors in the schools to make them aware of the
needs they see among the children in their own schools. Donations of cash and new, unwrapped toys each year also enable the
members of the committee, known as Santa’s Angels, to help make sure every child has a present to open on Christmas
morning. Four-legged children are not left out of
the proceeds from the event. The group began collecting pet food and supplies to help the local humane societies several years
from the sale of commemorative medallions, sweatshirts and long-sleeved t-shirts are the source of funds for Intracoastal
Christmas Regatta Committee. There is also do a 50/50 drawing the night of the Regatta and usually a raffle. Always planned for the
Saturday after Thanksgiving, the parade will begin at dusk and may be viewed at any point along the waterway between Little
River and Dock Holidays in North Myrtle Beach.
There are all sorts of sights and sounds to take in along the waterway
that day. Several restaurants along the parade route plan special menus and events as part of the celebration. If you’re
not able to get in to any of these locations, there are plenty of public landings and places along the shoreline you can gather
family and friends together to watch.
Spectators are encouraged to make a donation to the cause in
the form of cash or new, unwrapped toys. Donations may be made at any participating marina or restaurant.