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Parade rolls on, rain or no rain

Tonight’s Valleywide Christmas Parade rolls out at 6 p.m. EST this evening, rain or no rain.

“We can’t reschedule it,” Parade Committee member Laurie Blount told The Valley Times-News late Wednesday. “We will go on with it even if it’s raining.”

Thursday’s forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain for Thursday with around a quarter of an inch possible.

“We have 65 entries committed,” Blount added. “We have more trucks and floats than we’ve ever had before, but we don’t know how many will show up because of the weather. Hopefully it won’t be too bad, and everyone who comes out to see it will have a good time.”

This year’s grand marshal is local roofing contractor Cecil Ramsey. A major supporter of the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project (CFCP), Mr. Ramsey and his crew have done the roofing work for every one of the 38 CFCP homes that have been built in West Point, Lanett and Valley.

The mayors of the three local cities, Steve Tramell of West Point, Kyle McCoy of Lanett and Leonard Riley of Valley, will be riding toward the front of the parade. High school bands from Valley and Lanett are scheduled to appear. They may not be playing their instruments if it’s raining.

The Chambers County Career Technical Center is planning on having their Piedmont Motor Sports green power racing teams riding along the course, and there’s a good chance they’ll have their mock-up 1950s-style diesel electric locomotive on a float.

The parade will be a chance for the public to see some impressive equipment from the Chambers County Highway Department. A big dump truck and a motor grader, each bearing “Strength Woven  In” logos, are scheduled to be in the parade. There will be some horses toward the end of the parade, and the grand finale, of course, will be Santa Claus riding on a fire truck.

On the day of the parade lining up will take place next to the Cherry Valley Shopping Center in Lanett. The parade will follow the same route traveled in recent years, starting in Lanett, going through downtown West Point and onto Highway 29 through Lanett and into Valley, where it disbands in the parking lot outside Walmart.

A committee will select prize-winning floats in the business, school and community  categories.

The annual parade offers the benefit of helping local food closets. The $35 entry fee was lowered to $30 for those who donated five canned goods per vehicle or float. The canned goods that were donated will be divided between the Christian Service Center, the West Point Food Closet and the Interfaith Food Closet.

The parade will be heading out from the parking lot at the Cherry Valley Shopping Center in Lanett onto North 12th Street. It will take a left onto West 4th Avenue in West Point, where it will proceed to West 10th Street and take a right in front of Point University’s Scott Performance Hall to West 3rd Avenue where the parade will take another right and head through the main portion of downtown West Point.

West 3rd will become Highway 29 at the intersection of West 7th Street, and the parade will continue heading south at this location and will cross the state line into Lanett. The route will then continue along Highway 29 into Valley, where it will disband in the parking lot outside Walmart.

Blount said that if the rain’s not too bad the parade should be a fun event like it always is, but that it will be well worth it for spectators to make plans to be warm and dry.