By Bree Collar, Sentinel Staff Writer
Dozens of parade participants and onlookers gathered July 4 in downtown Blue Ridge to celebrate the United States of America’s 243rd birthday in true red, white and blue fashion. Sponsored by the Blue Ridge Business Association (BRBA), the parade kicked off the July 4 weekend with almost 50 entries in the annual event that has been run by BRBA for the past 15 years.
Grand Marshals for the 2019 event were Elaine and Jim Owen who spearheaded the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall coming to Fannin County in October of this year.
Those participating in the almost 60-year-old July 4th event also included 15 city, police, fire and dignitaries including Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston.
A total of 62 participants in this year’s parade made it the largest Old Timers Parade in years, President Cesar Martinez said.
“I have only heard good things about the parade and very happy we had great weather,” Martinez said.
BRBA Vice President Pam Fink said the annual Old Timers Parade is steeped in local history, initially beginning in the early 1960s.
Founded decades ago by the Fannin County Historical Society, the parade allows residents, visitors and business owners an opportunity to celebrate the nation’s independence and brings comradery to the community, Fink said.
Martinez said, “The Blue Ridge Business Association members along with the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) team did an outstanding job organizing and staging this wonderful display for our residents and tourists choosing to visit our great city for their July 4th celebration.”
Participating in the the annual parade requires participants to just show up the day of the event. There is no registration cost.
For more information on participating or attending next year’s event visit www. bestofblueridge.biz.