Santa will pause in toy-making preparations to join Grand Marshals Dr. Pat and Gail Hunnicutt at the annual LaGrange Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5.
Prior to the parade, the Hunnicutts will light the Christmas tree on Lafayette Plaza at 5:30 p.m. with Mayor Jeff Lukken, signaling the beginning of the holiday season in LaGrange.
The parade is organized by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce’s young professionals group, HYPE, under Kim Skiff’s leadership with volunteers from West Georgia Health. The theme will be “All I Want for Christmas Is …” — a tribute to Dr. Hunnicutt’s 37-year dental practice.
“We thought we might have a few too many teeth in the parade if we used the entire song title, so we’re leaving a lot of room for creativity in float design,” noted Skiff.
Dr. Hunnicutt graduated from LaGrange High School and the University of Georgia, where he played football under legendary UGA Coach Vince Dooley. He graduated from Emory Dental School in 1969, and served as a dentist in the military for two years in Vietnam. Dr. Hunnicutt then returned to LaGrange and began his own practice. He has served on the board of CB&T for 34 years, is a deacon and elder of First Presbyterian Church, served as a member of Rotary and Gridiron, and is an alumni of the Leadership Georgia program.
Gail Hunnicutt also graduated from LaGrange High School and the University of Georgia. She is a founding member of the Junior Service League of LaGrange, a deacon and elder of First Presbyterian Church, a graduate of Leadership Troup and Leadership Georgia, a trustee for the University of Georgia Foundation and an active volunteer with the LaGrange Art Museum, United Way of West Georgia and West Georgia Health Foundation, serving as board member and fundraiser for the organizations. In addition, she served on the LaGrange Airport Authority for 20 years.
“If you want something done in LaGrange, you call the Hunnicutts — that’s one of the first things I was told when I moved to LaGrange many years ago,” stated Chamber President Page Estes. “They epitomize the philosophy of servant leadership in our community.”
Dr. and Mrs. Hunnicutt recently co-chaired the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation’s Fall Ramble. In discussing the history of their home on Vernon Street, they noted “none of us know what the future holds, but if you do not understand the past then you have no path to the future.” Parade organizers indicated that this philosophy was one that characterized the thirty-seven year tradition of the Christmas parade. “The parade makes all of us recapture memories of Christmas past,” declared Skiff, “and gives us hope for the future of our families and this community.”
Parade participants will be asked to contribute an unwrapped Christmas toy in addition to the $35 registration fee. All toys will be given to local agencies to help make the holidays extra special for those in need. In addition, members of the Marine Corps League will follow Santa Claus in the parade and collect toys along the route. The public is encouraged to bring donations to the parade or drop off at the Chamber office.
In addition to announcing the grand marshals and parade theme, Skiff noted that the annual holiday ornament, featuring West Georgia Health, is available for purchase at the Chamber. “Not only has Gail been a great supporter of the hospital, but West Georgia Health volunteers have been dedicated, reliable parade volunteers — what a great way to honor both!”
Parade applications are available on line at the Chamber’s website, lagrangechamber.com. Applications are due by Nov. 27 to the Chamber office.