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Annual Christmas Parade in McDonough Saturday

Special Photo: Santa Claus will appear on a float during the McDonough Christmas Parade, Saturday. The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Special Photo: Santa Claus will appear on a float during the McDonough Christmas Parade, Saturday. The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

The streets of McDonough will be filled with holiday cheer this weekend, as a Yuletide tradition rolls on, float by float.

The McDonough Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, at 6 p.m., in the city’s downtown area. It will follow a Tree Lighting ceremony, also on The Square, at 5:30 p.m.

“The 36-foot Christmas tree will be turned on during the 30-minute program, adding to the beauty of this holiday time on The Square,” said Casey Case, McDonough’s media relations specialist.

“I am not aware of an event that draws as many citizens, not only from McDonough, but from Henry County and surrounding communities, as the Christmas Parade does,” said Case. “The parade has something for everyone, from floats, to clowns to horses, to bands. The crowd is thick all along the route — anywhere from six to 10 people deep.”

The theme of the parade is “A Red, White & Blue Christmas,” in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to McDonough City Clerk Janis Price.

The parade will begin in the Henry County High School parking lot, and will proceed up John Frank Ward Boulevard around The Square, down Keys Ferry Street, and back to the high school. The parade has been a staple in the city at Christmas time, for more than 20 years, Price said. Eighty groups are slated to appear in the parade, during the hour-plus route, she said.

“By the time the end of the parade leaves, the beginning of the parade is getting back there,” said Price. “So that’s why we limit it to 80 entries.”

The McDonough Elite Gamers baseball team will serve as the grand marshals for the parade. The Gamers won the American Amateur Baseball Congress Roberto Clemente World Series this past summer.

Parade entries include: the McDonough Youth Association, Henry County Special Olympics, local Girls Scout and Boy Scout troops, dance groups, animals and participants from local churches. Price said members of the Atlanta Camaro and Firebird Association, which has been a mainstay in the parade in recent years, will also participate.

Prizes will be given to the organizations with the two top floats . Marching bands from Ola High School, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, and Bible Baptist Christian School also are expected to be part of the annual parade. Also, there will be an appearance from Santa Claus.

“He is always the last one in the parade. He comes in on a float with Rudolph and the reindeer,” said Price.

For more information on the parade, call McDonough City Hall at (770) 957-3915.