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Memorial Day festivities include music, parade
The 2009 Memorial Day Parade, will begin at First Baptist Church and end on Spring St. at E.E. Butler Parkway. Like 2008, shown above, the parade will feature veterans, a tribute to current soldiers and law enforcement officers.
Memorial Day Parade
When: 10 a.m. Monday
Where: Begins at First Baptist Church on Green Street and ends on Spring Street at E.E. Butler Parkway
How much: Free
More info: Roger Keebaugh, 770-869-7941, or Dave Dillinger, 770-718-7676

A Blackhawk helicopter fly over will kick off the annual Memorial Day parade Monday in downtown Gainesville.

As a special tribute to Charlie Company, the Gainesville-based Army Reserves unit, members’ families will be honored as grand marshals of the parade. Horses, tractors, kids, Challenged Child and Friends, Boy Scout troops and politicians will be on hand to march, too.

And, says Dave Dillinger of American Legion Post 7, that’s not all.

“We’ll have most of the groups we’ve had in the past; it’s going to be a big parade,” he said. “This is the seventh year for the parade ... the streets are lined with people several deep.”

Thousands of people typically attend the Memorial Day parade. This year, the parade will end a block farther south on E.E. Butler Parkway.

“That’s where it used to go,” he said. “The Vietnam veterans group will have hamburgers and hot dogs there.”
Green Street between First Baptist Church and the intersection with E.E. Butler will be closed at 9:45 a.m. on Monday. Spectators can park at any of the side streets, Dillinger said.

“It’s a time we’ve got to honor all the veterans that came before us and are no longer with us,” he added.

The American Legion Eugene Brown Post 521 and Buford Post 534 also will take part in the festivities.

Johnny Varner, the commander of Post 521, said they will have the Gainesville High Navy JROTC Rifle Corps, Boy Scout Troop No. 15, Veteran Community Outreach Foundation Youth Cheerleaders and Elizabeth Westbrook’s Sunshine Seniors take part in the festivities, too.

“We’ll be following up Post 7 in the parade,” Varner said. “We’ll marshal up at the Gainesville Civic Center ... We actively participated last year, which was our first time since I’ve taken over.”

After the parade there will be a Memorial Day Open House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville.

Guests will have a chance to visit the adjacent Freedom Garden, watch videos and have some refreshments.
Also, free Memorial Day concerts will take place at 2 p.m. at Lakewood Baptist Church and at 7:30 p.m. at first Baptist Church.

The Air National Guard Band of the South from Dobbins Air Force Base will perform at Lakewood, and Northwinds Symphonic Band, a community-based symphonic band, will be at First Baptist.

If you are interested in heading out of the Hall County area for Memorial Day activities, try the Memorial Day Gorge Floor Hike planned for Sunday and Monday at Tallulah Falls.

A Memorial Day Blast is scheduled at Unicoi State Park in Helen. There will be relay races, games, a campfire and music from 8 to 9 p.m. on Monday.

At Stone Mountain, festivities include live music and laser light shows Saturday through Monday. A performance by the Gainesville State College Brass Ensemble is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday on Memorial Lawn. For more music, Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta will feature the Zac Brown Band. The local band will play at 5 p.m. and the show is part of the park’s Memorial Day Picnic concert.

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