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Sweet Land parade cruises through downtown

LaGRANGE — The 32nd annual Sweet Land of Liberty Parade for Children and Youth cruised through downtown LaGrange on Monday celebrating Independence Day.

Organized by the Junior Service League, the parade had dozens of children representing nearly 30 groups from around LaGrange, and prizes were awarded for the best floats and costumes.

“The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” float, led by the Burch, Hill and Seagraves families of LaGrange took the contest’s grand prize of $300. First place, and the accompanying prize of $250, went to the Royal Academy School of Dance. Sweetland Amphitheatre won second place and $200, and “Stars and Stripes” by the Carlisle family took third place and $100.

Entries were judged on creativity, kid accomplishment, originality and best representation of this year’s theme, “Liberty and Justice for All.” School board member and literacy advocate Debbie Burdette, last year’s grand marshal Angela Anderson, and Whimzey boutique owner Kesha Coniglio were this year’s judges.

Juvenile Court Judge Michael Key was this year’s grand marshal, and rode during the parade in a red Ford Mustang convertible with his wife and granddaughter. The Mustang was driven by LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton.

“I’m honored — kind of surprised,” Key said, who grew up in LaGrange. “There are so many people who deserve this more than me, even with the theme of ‘Liberty and Justice for All.’ I used to take my kids to the parades years ago, and I remember enjoying them and thinking how lucky we are as a community to have this.”

This year’s parade route traveled south down Church Street from Sweetland Amphitheatre to Lafayette Square. The parade turned left at Vernon Street in front of the Chamber of Commerce plaza, and left again up East Lafayette Square at Flagpole Park toward Ridley Avenue and City Hall. The parade ended back at the line-up point at the amphitheater.

The parade was sponsored by the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission with support from the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and the city of LaGrange. The Junior Service League produced and directed the parade.

Parade marchers representing the Sweetland Amphitheatre carry a large American Flag on Lafayette Square during the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade for Youth and Children on Monday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade01WEB-1.jpgParade marchers representing the Sweetland Amphitheatre carry a large American Flag on Lafayette Square during the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade for Youth and Children on Monday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

Juvenile Court Judge Michael Key, back left, grand marshal of the 32nd 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade waves to the crowd on Monday in Lafayette Square.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade02WEB-1.jpgJuvenile Court Judge Michael Key, back left, grand marshal of the 32nd 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade waves to the crowd on Monday in Lafayette Square.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

Youngsters representing the Royal Academy School of Dance march in the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in downtown LaGrange on Monday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade03WEB-1.jpgYoungsters representing the Royal Academy School of Dance march in the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in downtown LaGrange on Monday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

Onlookers watch the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in downtown LaGrange on Monday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade04WEB-1.jpgOnlookers watch the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in downtown LaGrange on Monday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

A youth participates in the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in downtown LaGrange on Monday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade05WEB-1.jpgA youth participates in the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade in downtown LaGrange on Monday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

The 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade makes its way down Church Street toward downtown LaGrange on Monday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade06WEB-1.jpgThe 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade makes its way down Church Street toward downtown LaGrange on Monday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

Judges of the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade, from left, Kesha Coniglio, Debbie Burdette and Angela Anderson judge floats before the parade starts on Monday at Boyd Park.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade07WEB-1.jpgJudges of the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade, from left, Kesha Coniglio, Debbie Burdette and Angela Anderson judge floats before the parade starts on Monday at Boyd Park.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,’ the grand prize float by the Burch, Hill and Seagraves families of LaGrange, passes through Lafayette Square during the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade on Monday.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/07/web1_July4Parade08WEB-1.jpg‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,’ the grand prize float by the Burch, Hill and Seagraves families of LaGrange, passes through Lafayette Square during the 32nd annual Sweetland of Liberty Parade on Monday.

Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter for LaGrange Daily News. He can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.