In light of the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the theme of the 30th annual Fourth of July Sweet Land of Liberty Parade is “A Star-Spangled Spectacular,” with former LaGrange Mayor Jeff Lukken serving as grand marshal.
“Mr. Lukken has served, and continues to serve, our community by giving his time and energy to promote LaGrange and initiatives that will benefit our local area and residents,” said a comment from the 2014 parade committee.
Lukken served as mayor of LaGrange for 16 years and under his tenure headed the elimination of property taxes for LaGrange residents and business owners.
He also initiated the downtown movie theater and developed the growing relationship with the Korean community to establish the thriving automotive industry in Troup County, such as Kia Motors and its suppliers.
“My wife Cindy and I are honored and humbled to be named the grand marshals of the Sweet Land of Liberty Parade,” said Lukken.
Under his leadership as mayor, LaGrange received the Intelligent City of the Year Award from the World Teleport Association, the Executive Leadership Award from Government Executive Magazine, City of Excellence Award from the Georgia Municipal Association, Innovation Award Finalist from Harvard University JFK School of Government, and the Innovator Award from Southern Growth Policies Board.
Lukken was named one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend Magazine, and has received awards such as the Executive Leadership Award from Government Executive Magazine and Rotarian of the Year from the LaGrange Rotary Club.
He thanked the parade’s founders Jim and Annette Boyd, whom started the parade in 1985.
“Our fondest summer memories include our children building floats for the parade and Cindy and I working as volunteers,” said Lukken. “We want to thank Jim and Annette Boyd for the gift to our children and community, America’s Greatest Fourth of July parade.”
The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 4, with line-up at 9 a.m at the parking lot behind the Carmike Cinemas movie theater on Main Street. The route will travel down Main Street and around the square to Bull Street, the back to Main Street.
Participants are encouraged to decorate bicycles, wagons, etc. but no motorized vehicles will be allowed; A $300 grand prize will be awarded for the best “star-spangled” costume or decorations.
Young children should be dropped off with their entry at the starting location and the only adults allowed in the parade line-up are registered parents or group leaders; Judging will begin at 9:30 a.m.
All decorations must be made by the participant themselves, though adult guidance is permitted. All motorized vehicles, animals and commercial advertising are prohibited. No children may be removed from the parade while in progress.
For participation in the parade, registration forms can be filled out at the Troup County Parks & Recreation center, located at 1220 Lafayette Pkwy.
High school 2014 Senior Award winners will be honored at the parade, with the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by Hillcrest Elementary student Lilly Barber.
Sponsored by the Troup County parks & Recreation Commission and the “Proud Americans of Troup County,” the parade is directed by the Junior Service League of LaGrange.
For questions and additional information, call 706-883-1670.