SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Tybee Beach Bum Parade was last week, but as we continue to celebrate our 65th Anniversary, we looked a little farther back into the event’s history, and the special connections to it that this station has always enjoyed.
As always, summer arrived early on Tybee Island, with higher than usual temperatures this week.
“We call it the last locals weekend."
The parade was the start of the season for the island that’s every part as ceremonial as it is soggy.
“As you can see, it is an all out battle out here, nobody is free from getting soaked on these streets.”
It’s also something WTOC has been a part of almost from the beginning, covering most, broadcasting some live. It’s a connection deep in the station’s history that went beyond destroyed cameras and soaked reporters.
“Johnny Cole used to come down to the old Shipwatch Lounge about every Saturday night, so that’s how he picked up on what the parade was about.”
Jack Boylston was one of the founders of the event that started in 1987 as a parade for the Beach Bum softball team, but changed in the second year.
“A bunch of guys standing out in front of the old Anchor Bar, and they had a bucket in front of them, and all of a sudden when we walked by, just the bums, they started unloading on us with water balloons, and that’s how the water started, and every year it got bigger in terms of water and all types of ways of delivering the water,” Boylston said.
It also started to draw more, and more famous, people every year.
“Don’t it make you proud to be an American? I think he’s cut those suit pants off again.”
“America needs more Beach Bum Parades. There’d be a lot less therapy if we did that. I can tell you, there were no Democrats, no Republicans, there were just wet people,” said Jack Kingston, who attended the parade while in Congress.
“It’s something Tybee owns, and nobody has one. We can say it’s ours and you can’t take it away from us.”
But, as WTOC has shown for decades, you can take the Beach Bum Parade to people not able to make it one of Tybee’s signature events.
If you’d like to take a look back at WTOC’s history, click here.