Get Wet n’ Wild at Tybee’s Beach Bum Parade

A decorated float with tie-dye fabrics and banners, including one that reads "Big Kahuna," is filled with people. It is being towed by a white truck. Palm trees and buildings are visible in the background.

Get Wet n’ Wild at Tybee’s Beach Bum Parade

Started in the late ‘80s by a group of amateur softball enthusiasts, the annual Beach Bum Parade is a Tybee tradition. It takes the name from said softball athletes who formed an amateur team called the DeSoto Beach Bums. Truth be told, the team performed poorly, but they had the support of the island community behind them, and they held a parade to celebrate their homecoming game. Legend has it that during the parade, a group of guys posted up in front of a novelty bar on Tybrisa Street with a five gallon bucket, which the Beach Bums thought nothing of. When the Beach Bums made their way down the street, the group started pummeling the team with water balloons. And the annual Beach Bum Parade has been wet and wild ever since. 

A large group of people wearing matching light-colored shirts poses outdoors on a sunny day. Some are seated on picnic tables while others stand around them. Trees and a car can be seen in the background.

Today, the parade no longer involves water balloons for safety reasons. Instead, it has become the South’s biggest water gun fight. On Friday, May 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Butler Avenue will host an ultimate water fight of epic proportions. Floats will soak bystanders while they fight back with their own water blasters and bazookas. It’s a fun time for the whole family where everyone ends up drenched. Pretty much everyone in the vicinity — except for police officers; DO NOT spray the police — is fair game, so bring plenty of water (no ice water please), load up your water gun and soak every parade participant you can. 

A decorated float with tie-dye fabrics and banners, including one that reads "Big Kahuna," is filled with people. It is being towed by a white truck. Palm trees and buildings are visible in the background.

The Beach Bum Parade is more than just a fun water fight, it’s also a celebration of community, a time for locals to come together before the tourists start flooding in after Memorial Day. Each year, there’s a Grand Marshal and coronation of the Big Kahuna and Queen, all Tybee locals who contribute much to the island. This year’s Grand Marshal is Tommy Thompson, the Big Kahuna is Billy Burke, and Karin Hogan will be crowned Queen. Be sure to spot them and soak them at the parade. 

Children spray water at participants on a float during a street parade on a rainy day, with banners visible on the float.

Get ready for the big day by purchasing your Beach Bum Parade 2024 T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit Tybee charities and causes. For T-shirts and more information, visit tybeebeachbumparade.com/

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