Youngsters win costume contest
Published 12:00 am Monday, July 4, 2016
LaGRANGE — With a spirit that would have made the late Jim and Annette Boyd proud, two youngsters were named the winners of a patriotic costume contest Sunday at Sweetland Amphitheatre.
Hampton Malone, 7, and Amelia Rockwell, 9, two cousins from LaGrange, were chosen by a panel of three judges and cheers from the crowd shortly before the beginning of a Charlie Daniels Band concert.
The youths competed against four other individuals and groups for the title, but judges opted to go with the kids. It’s fitting, seeing that the Sweet Land of Liberty Parade, founded by the Boyds 32 years ago, is an event for kids.
When asked what they came dressed as, the children — before a packed crowd — spoke timidly into the microphone, with the eldest, Rockwell, saying, “We don’t know what we are.”
The crowd laughed and cheered, and emcee Becca Eiland, the amphitheater’s director who was dressed as the Statue of Liberty, tried again.
“We’re Uncle Sam and Abraham Lincoln,” Rockwell said with some prompting.
The contest was judged by County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews; J.J. Kuerzi, director of facilities for the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission; and Lynn Holle, daughter of the late Boyds.
A gift bag was given to the children as a prize, although Eiland noted, “Sorry, there’s no candy in there,” and later the children were taken backstage and given autographed photos of Charlie Daniels.
18-year-old Anthony Simpson, a senior at Troup High School, performed the national anthem before the show, and the crowd sang along. Simpson was under the direction of THS chorus teacher Kathy Kirby.