MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (Dec. 6, 2019) – The much-awaited Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade is set to delight young and young at heart this Sunday, Dec. 8. And while hundreds of volunteers are poised to spread holiday cheer along Coleman Boulevard to the delight of thousands; four community leaders will hold very special roles. Grand marshal Colonel Gregory Gilmour will lead the parade on its celebratory route, and Parade Judges Christine Osbourne, Anna Dassing and Mark Marhefka will have the challenging task of ranking hundreds of beautiful floats. But who are these deeply committed volunteers? Read below the profiles of those who will help the Town put on a grand display of holiday fun on Sunday.
About Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade Colonel Gregory Gilmour
On Dec. 7, Colonel Gregory Gilmour will retire from a 33-year military career. The next day, he will celebrate by serving as this year’s Grand Marshal. Col. Gilmour began his career in Charleston as a graduate of the Citadel. He then spent 13 years as a naval aviator before joining the Air Force Reserves, where he went on several tours of duty. Since 2015, he has served as the Commander of the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston. He has overseen 2,500 reserve Air Force officers who assist with airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuation forces.
About Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade Judges - Christine Osbourne, Anna Dassing and Mark Marhefka
Christine Osborne has been a Mount Pleasant business leader since 1990 when she opened her first Wonder Works store. She and her former business partner, Dan Morrisey, met while working at Southern Pines Hospital, she was a physical therapist and marketing director, and he was the hospital administrator. Wanting to do something more, they created Wonder Works, a toy store that inspires creativity. Known to many as the Chief Magic Maker, Osborne is a vocal and proud advocate of Shop Local and has been named one of Charleston’s most influential women. She hasn’t forgotten her medical roots either – each Thursday, every child at MUSC gets a free toy!
Anna Dassing began her career as a middle school teacher in Rock Hill School District 3 before moving to Charleston in 2002 when she began her Charleston County School District career at Military Magnet Academy. She became a learning specialist for CCSD before moving into administration. She served as assistant principal of R.B. Stall High School, and in 2011 began a five-year tenure as Moultrie Middle School’s principal. She spent several years at Burke High School and now she is excitedly preparing to serve as principal of Mount Pleasant’s new Lucy Beckham High School when it opens next August. Lucy Beckham, former principal of Wando High School, was Dassing’s friend and mentor.
Mark Marhefka began fishing for a living the day after high school graduation in 1979, and soon after purchased his own fishing boat. His father was a fisherman who followed the tradition of selling his catch to a dealer who then sold to a wholesaler. Charleston fish often ended up shipping out to all corners of the east coast. Wanting to reduce the distance between point A (his boat) and point B (seafood restaurants), he and his wife Kerry started Abundant Seafood, a wholesale operation and a community-supported fishery. Marhefka is passionate about marine preservation and was one of the first people to fight for fishing quotas and limits on fishing areas. In the 1990s, he became an official adviser to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and has also conducted research with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the National Marine Fisheries Services, and the Pew Environmental Group.
Come help our judges and community celebrate the holidays and all of the organizations who work together to bring the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade to life on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 5:30 p.m. on W. Coleman Blvd. Visit ExperienceMountPleasant.com or facebook.com/MountPleasantRec for event details and road closure information.