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Gainesville Memorial Day parade plans coming together
World War II veteran Mack Abbott to be honorary grand marshal
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Annual Memorial Day parade
When: 10 a.m. May 30
Where: Green Street from First Baptist Church to E.E. Butler Parkway, then to Spring Street
Contact: gainesvillememorialdayparade.com; Dave Dellinger at 770-718-7676 or Roger Keebaugh at 770-869-7941

Last year’s Memorial Day parade plans in Gainesville — including a Stearman biplane flyover and World War II veteran Mack Abbott as the honorary grand marshal — are being dusted off for this year’s version of the annual event.

There is also hope rain doesn’t spoil everything for the second straight year.

“We can’t reschedule the event,” said Cheryl Vandiver, one of the event’s organizers. “It is on a holiday and Memorial Day is it.”

Storms washed out last year’s event, which involved more than a hundred entries, including war veterans riding in cars and a high school band performing patriotic songs.

Also planned that day was a flyover at 1,000 feet or higher by Tony Manzo, a Gainesville pilot flying the Boeing-made P-17 Stearman biplane, which was used to train fighter pilots during World War II.

Manzo, attending a planning meeting last Thursday, along with Vandiver and others, plans to fly over this year’s parade, which is set to begin at 10 a.m. May 30.

Parade organizers are meeting Thursdays to nail down final details, include who will serve as grand marshal. The group tried to get Gov. Nathan Deal, but he has committed to be elsewhere on that day, organizers said.

Honorary grand marshal Abbottis a Pearl Harbor survivor who served in the South Pacific, including at Guadalcanal and the invasion of Saipan.

The Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7 is sponsoring the ninth annual event.
Plans are for participants to begin lining up at 8:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Green Street. The Marine Corps League is helping with staging the parade.

An estimated 400 to 500 parade marchers will travel from the church down Green Street to E.E. Butler Parkway, then take E.E. Butler to Spring Street, where the parade will disband.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 772, will serve free hot dogs and hamburgers after the parade in Roosevelt Square between the Joint Administration Building and Georgia Mountains Center.

The American Legion also is cooking hot dogs and hamburgers at its post on Riverside Drive, after the parade.
Also, the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University will be open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with a special focus on veterans.

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