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Hundreds of children dress up for annual parade

One of LaGrange’s longest running traditions continued Tuesday with the Sweet Land of Liberty Parade around LaFayette Square. Hundreds of area children dressed in patriotic outfits and rode wagons, scooters and bikes around the city. The 33-year-old event is unique in having no motorized vehicles and being based around children, who look forward to taking part each year.

“It was controlled chaos, but the best kind — kids having fun,” said Carrie Blankenship, co-chair of the parade for the Junior Service League. “There’s nothing like seeing a kid with snow cone on their face and their shirt and an American flag. It’s pretty much America.”

Each year the Junior Service League puts on the parade, and this year’s theme was “faith, family and freedom.” Martha Evans, who hosts Camp Cowpie each summer, was the grand marshal, and led the parade around the square.

Mayor Jim Thornton read a proclamation before the parade declaring Tuesday as Martha Evans Day in LaGrange.

“LaGrange has given to us in every way. No matter what we needed, we asked for, somebody stepped up and gave it to us,” Evans said of Camp Cowpie. “Our volunteers are consistent and they come back year after year. We are lucky to have people who love their community and love their children and who are willing to dedicate time to make it a better place for everybody.”

The top four “floats” were announced just before the parade. The grand prize went to Larita Brewer: Faith Freedom Kids; second place was Sweetland Amphitheatre; third place went to Royal Academy School of Dance; and fourth place was Kathy Carlisle: The Freedoms.