Mark your calendars: Sweet Land of Liberty Parade is July 1

Published 10:00 am Friday, June 23, 2023

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By Abbi Kirby
Special to the Daily News

Summer is a time for ice cream, swimming pools and, of course, parades. The 39th annual Sweet Land of Liberty parade will be held on July 1 in downtown LaGrange. 

Started by Annette and Jim Boyd in 1985, the parade has celebrated the youth of LaGrange. Annette Boyd, affectionately known as the “parade lady”, wanted to showcase the youth of LaGrange while allowing them to show their patriotism.

The Junior Service League of LaGrange is organizing the parade, which will be led by the  LaGrange College Athletic Department, this year’s grand marshal. Terlynn Olds, LaGrange College Vice President for Athletics and Recreation, will be accompanied by coaches and students of the LaGrange College Athletic Department. Before the parade begins, the mayor will read a proclamation to honor them and the work they do with the kids of the community.   

The parade’s host, the Junior Service League, is celebrating its 50th year in LaGrange.

“We are here to help make LaGrange the best that it can be,” said Parade Chairman Nicole Maddox.

Other community groups helping with the event include: Rotary Club of LaGrange, the City of LaGrange, the mayor’s office, Downtown LaGrange and Sweetland Amphitheatre.

“We would not be able to put this on without everybody in the community,” Maddox said.

Maddox explained that this year the committee is trying something different by holding the parade on July 1st, which is a Saturday, instead of on the actual Fourth of July. 

“Last year, we did not have the turn out that we were looking for,” Maddox said. 

The parade is also taking a new direction. It will begin at the LSPA parking lot and will move north on Bull Street and Church Street ending at the Sweetland Amphitheatre front lot.

This year’s theme is “Surfin’ in the USA.”

To participate in the parade, you must be 19 years old and under. No motorized vehicles or live animals are allowed in your entry. A first, second and third place prize will be awarded to the best costume and/or best decorated float.

The “Pat on the Back” and “Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty” awards will be presented to students. These awards are chosen by school counselors and are based on the students’ good citizenship, friendship, generosity and patriotism.

Participation is free for all kids.  Online registration ends on June 28 and in-person registration begins at 9 a.m. the day of the parade. The parade will begin at 10 a.m.