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35th annual Sweet Land of Liberty Parade scheduled for July 4

The 35th annual Sweet Land of Liberty Parade to be held in downtown LaGrange July 4th, Debbie and Speer Burdette honored as grand marshals.

The 35th annual Sweet Land of Liberty Parade will be held in Downtown LaGrange Thursday, July 4. Festivities begin at 10 a.m.

This year’s theme is “Bright Stars, Bold Stripes, Brave Hearts.”

Only kids 19 and younger are allowed to participate and motorized vehicles are prohibited.  Participation is free and open to the public.

The parade is sponsored by the Troup County Parks and Recreation Department, LaGrange-Troup Chamber of Commerce, Downtown LaGrange Development Authority, Sweetland Amphitheatre, LaGrange Rotary Club & Junior Service of LaGrange. JSL also directs the parade every year.

This year’s grand marshals are Debbie and Speer Burdette. Speer is the recently-retired Callaway Foundation president and Debbie is a longtime literacy advocate, former school board member, and the beloved Mama Jama, the storytelling mama. 

“We are thrilled to recognize these two ‘bright stars’ for their decades of bold leadership and brave service. Debbie and Speer Burdette reflect the best ideals of this country. They are homegrown heroes and world class leaders,” said JSL Board Member and Parade Chairwoman Lindsey Perkins. “Junior Service League members have been supporting this youth parade since the beginning. Some who marched in the parade as children now see their own children march. Others, who volunteered at the early parades, now see their grandchildren participate. The Junior Service League is proud to continue this great tradition.”

Parade participants assemble at Sweetland Amphitheater at Boyd Park, named for parade founders, the late Annette and Jim Boyd.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. on the Square with LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton emceeing a short patriotic program that will include local performers and winners of the Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam awards from the class of 2019. Local Pat on the Back award winners will also be announced. 

Participants should report to Sweetland Amphitheatre at Boyd Park between 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on July 4th. Judging will begin at 9:30 a.m. Prizes awarded include grand prize for $300, first prize for $200, second prize for $150 and third prize for $100.

Children must have their parents’ signature to be in the parade. You can pick up a form at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center on Lafayette Parkway or online at Jsloflagrange.com/parade-registration.

Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will lead the parade as bearers of the American flag, “Pat on the Back” award winners will march together, and local children will carry all 50 state flags. The new flags were donated by sustaining members of the LaGrange Junior Service League.

Pat on the Back award winners are selected by their schools for demonstrating citizenship, patriotism, friendship and generosity. The 2019 winners include Jeremiah Staples of Callaway Elementary School; Alyssa Totten and Devon Crawl of Ethel Kight Elementary School; Fernando Raymundo and Xavious Anderson of Franklin Forest Elementary; Halle Phelps and Dylan Barber of Hillcrest Elementary; Jaylin Vargas and JaDarrian Williams of Hogansville Elementary; Nuria Cooper and Joe Threadgill of Hollis Hand Elementary; Connor Hudson, Jessica Martinez,  Dalton Colquett and Kyle Belle Lasher of Lafayette Christian School;  Allison Sheets and Caleb Dorsey of Rosemont Elementary; KaTya Truitt and Wyatt Ellington of West Point Elementary; Macy A. Ogletree and Timothy Browning of Callaway Middle School; Ruby Periz-Guillen and Marza’yvionn Dixon of Gardner Newman Middle School; Nevaeh Copeland and Kyle Hammett of Long Cane Middle School; Addy Smith, Benjamin Gilliland, Madison Atkinson and Caleb Hodges of  West Georgia Home School Academy. 

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton will once again provide free Kona Ice for parade participants.

The Sweet Land of Liberty Parade will be broadcast live on the City’s LGTV Facebook page at Facebook.com/lgtv.org