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Marching on

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By Alice Du Pont

The Black History Parade and Festival celebration were rained out Feb. 23, but organizers were determined to have the parade March 2. Braving the cold morning, which brought with it lots of sunshine but a wind chill factor in the mid-30s, parade participants bundled up from head to toe.

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“This is a good turnout because a lot of people who had planned to participate last week could not come back, but some were nice enough to try again. This is the 32 year for the parade,” said organizer Anthony Powell.

Maggie King, who hasn’t missed a parade since 1982, was there in her white Cadillac and royal blue decorations representing Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

There were several bands, including East and West Gadsden High Schools, James A. Shanks and Havana middle schools. Sprinkled in were the Dynamic Divas Red Hatters, the Alpha Kappa Alpha’s pink limousine and the Michael Moore Lodge float.

The festival, which is usually held on the Courthouse Square had to be called off because many of the vendors who had agreed to participate were unavailable for two consecutive Saturdays.

Still, hundreds lined the streets, although fewer than usual, from the South Stewart Street starting point to the end of the route.

One woman said she wasn’t sure there was going to be a parade but she drove to Quincy to see.

“I guess I didn’t see where it was going to be held this weekend because of last weekend, but I look a chance and it’s really nice,” she said.

The Bush family shivered at the corner of Calhoun and Crawford Streets as they waited for their son, Nicholas, to pass who is a member of the East Gadsden High School marching band.

A few feet away, City Commissioner Derrick Elias sat with his granddaughter. Although she was dress warmly and covered in a blanket, she didn’t seem to be too thrilled to be sitting outside.

“She’ll be all right,” he said.

There entire parade lasted less than an hour, but the happy faces worn by children and adults were well worth it to organizers and participants.