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43rd annual Christmas parade marches through LaGrange

Dr. Roy Nichols kicked off the 43rd annual Christmas parade Thursday night with the tree lighting before leading storybook characters — ranging from the Grinch to Pete the Cat — through downtown LaGrange.

The annual parade is sponsored by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. Nichols, a long-time community leader who most recently retired as the interim superintendent of the Troup County School System, served as the parade’s grand marshal. His love of local children was the inspiration for this year’s theme, “Children’s Christmas Stories.” 

“This is the community we’ve fallen in love with,” Nichols said. “You didn’t come to hear me talk. You want to start the Christmas season, and that is what all of this is about.”

Nichols has spent more than 30 years educating students, and his passion for education is known throughout the community.

“I’ve had the opportunity to serve side-by-side with Dr. Nichols on the Strategic Planning Commission, and we discuss education a lot,” Mayor Pro Tem Jim Arrington said. “Every time education comes up, Dr. Nichols is always passionate. I’ve never seen him when he wasn’t passionate about education.”

After the tree lighting, the streets of downtown LaGrange filled with people eager to watch the 95 floats in this year’s parade go past. 

“I thought it was great,” said Leslie Traylor, the director of member engagement for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. “I thought the floats were one of a kind and very unique, and our theme was spot on.”

Those floats had local children leaning forward to wave at Buddy the Elf, a giant termite and, of course, all of their friends.

“My favorite part was the theme because the children loved seeing their favorite storybook characters,” said Kathy Tilley, the interim president and CEO of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. “They loved seeing the Grinch. They loved seeing everything. I thought it was one of the best parades ever.”

This year, Unity Baptist Church won the church category, with New Life Deliverance Church coming in second. Cub Scout Pack 518 won the civic category and Troup County E-911 took second in the division. 

Hollis Hand Elementary School came in first for a first-time entry, and Milliken received second. In the large category, Duracell came in first, and AMR came in second. 

In the small business category, Weathers Honda came in first, and Michelle Cornett Allstate Insurance received second. LaGrange Academy won the school category, and Gardner Newman Middle School came in second. 

Faith Baptist Church won the prestigious Warren Adams Director Award.

“Our parade director, Warren Adams, who has done the parade for 27 years did an amazing job,” Tilley said. “I’m so thankful to all the volunteers that pitched in and helped put it on. We could not have done it without them.”

A full broadcast of the parade can be viewed on the City of LaGrange-Government Facebook page.