It’s beginning to look like the holidays throughout LaGrange as the community readies for the 37th annual Christmas parade, sponsored by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.
“All I Want for Christmas Is …,” this year’s parade theme, is causing everyone to get creative with their decorating ideas according to LeTisha Smith, parade coordinator. “Since Gail and Pat Hunnicutt were selected as grand marshals, we thought the theme was a perfect tribute to Dr. Hunnicutt’s dental practice and also appealed to every child making their Santa wish list.”
In addition to the entry fee, all participants are contributing toys this year. “We are partnering with Toys for Tots to distribute the toys to children throughout Troup County,” noted Smith. “The Chamber wanted to remind everyone that the best gift this year is one that is given to someone in need.”
This year parade spectators will have an opportunity to participate in the gift exchange. Volunteers for Toys for Toys will follow Santa Claus at the end of the parade and collect toys. Spectators are asked to hold the unwrapped toys until the volunteers walk by their area along the parade route. The volunteer will take the toy to the vehicles where the toys are being collected.
Bernard Bledsoe of the Marine Corps League Detachment 1040 indicates this is a great opportunity for parents. He believes “if you are a parent or grandparent and want to teach a child about the true meaning of Christmas, let the child pick out a toy to give to someone else. The best kind of giving is a gift to someone in need.”
The parade committee also announced that the parade will begin at Granger Park and head south on North Greenwood Street. Marching groups will be merged into the parade from St. Mark’s with the procession going down North Greenwood to Haralson Street. The parade will then turn right onto Church Street to the Square and Bull Street. New this year, the parade will turn left onto Broome Street before turning back onto Main. The procession will then follow Main Street, past the Square to Ridley Avenue.
The change to the parade route — turning onto Broome Street — was made to allow for an east-west corridor through the city.
“Some of our larger floats will continue down Bull until it intersects with Main and rejoins the main parade route,” explained Smith. However, she stressed that spectators should not line that part of Bull Street since they will be able to view only a few entries.
Smith noted that “there are so many great places to view the parade throughout downtown.” Viewing stands will be placed on the Square for those that arrive early.
All parents who are dropping off children that will be participating in the parade are reminded that no drop-offs will be allowed on North Greenwood, and no traffic will be allowed on Granger Drive except floats. All participants must disembark on Highland Avenue or at the Granger Track. There will be no parking on either side of North Greenwood Street in front of the school nor on Hunnicutt Place between North Greenwood and Granger Drive.
“We’re so happy that the Downtown Development Authority of LaGrange asked Santa to arrive early to the Lafayette Plaza. From 3 to 5 pm children can take pictures with Santa, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, so arrive early!”
Mayor Jeff Lukken will host the annual LaGrange tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5:15 pm on the Plaza. Parade Grand Marshals Pat and Gail Hunnicutt and their family will “flip the switch” to illuminate the downtown tree.
“Watch the weather—you may need a raincoat or umbrella,” commented Smith. “However, we hope the forecasted rain moves out of the area before 6 pm.” The parade will proceed rain or shine.