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American Legion planning Memorial Day parade
Hall Sheriff Cronic will be grand marshal
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Memorial Day parade

When: 10 a.m. May 28
Where: Route is Green Street, starting at First Baptist Church and traveling to E.E. Butler Parkway, then E.E. Butler to Spring Street
Contact: Dave Dellinger, 770-718-7676

Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7 is finishing up plans on the 10th anniversary Memorial Day parade — one of Gainesville’s largest annual events — on May 28.

Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic, who is leaving office Dec. 31 after three consecutive four-year terms, will serve as grand marshal.

“He is not a veteran,” said Dave Dellinger, post commander. “But he has really helped the veterans groups here. Anytime we’ve wanted anything, we’ve asked him and he bends over backward for us.

“We thought that before he goes out (of office), we were going to honor him.”

The parade, set to begin at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Green Street and end at Spring Street off E.E. Butler Parkway, also will feature an annual appearance by Cecil Boswell, a World War II veteran who walks the route waving at onlookers in the uniform he wore when he was discharged from the U.S. Army.

“He starts preparing a couple of months before (the parade), just going out walking to build up his endurance,” Dellinger said.

Another highlight will be Gainesville pilot Tony Manzo flying over the parade route in his bright yellow Boeing-made P-17 Stearman biplane.

Chestatee High School’s band, which performs every year in the parade, will be joined this year by bands from Flowery Branch and West Hall high schools, Dellinger said.

“And, of course, with the election year, we will have lots of politicians,” he said. “I keep getting calls from them (about) how to get in the parade.”

Veterans groups, including the American Legion’s new motorcycle group, also will be in the parade.

Overall, Dellinger expects the parade “will be even bigger this year than the last couple of years.”

The event will go on rain or shine, but lightning will put an end to festivities.

Parade watchers typically show up early for the event, setting up lawn chairs all along Green Street, so Dellinger recommends arriving early to get a good viewing spot.

Sgt. Dean Staples said Gainesville police plan to start shutting down roads leading into Green Street — a main route through Gainesville — about 9 a.m. Those streets include E.E. Butler at Jesse Jewell Parkway, Ga. 60 at Enota Avenue and Park Hill Drive at Enota.

He said parade watchers could park for free at the downtown parking deck off Main Street and the downtown square.

The Gainesville Civic Center on Green Street isn’t an option for parking.

“It will be covered up because we’re going to use it as staging area” in addition to First Baptist, Staples said.

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