THOMASVILLE — Hundreds lined Broad Street Thursday for the mini version of one of south Georgia’s largest and most celebrated parades.

The weather couldn’t have been better for the Rose Bud Parade, which kicked off the 85th annual Rose Festival. Kids of all ages were celebrated in the parade, led through downtown Thomasville by grand marshals George and Jane Jetson.

Students from local GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) and DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs waved to the cheering crowds, followed by a huge Thomasville High School football helmet on wheels.

Kids from Jerger Elementary School — following this year’s Fabulous ’50’s theme for the Rose Festival — sock-hopped down the parade route, dressed in poodle skirts, rolled-up jeans and penny loafers. The Thomas County Middle School band gave them something to dance to as they thundered downtown with their rendition of “Louie, Louie.”

A group from the Felix Street Daycare and Learning Center marched in matching red uniforms and bandannas, a sharp contrast to the neon green shirts worn by the kids from Hand-In-Hand Primary School.

The two biggest groups in the parade, dressed in red shirts of their own, were from the Balfour School for Young Children and Harper Elementary School.

Also sticking with the Fabulous ’50s theme was a group of Girl Scouts riding a float complete with an old-fashioned juke box and adorned with colorful records. The most colorful float in the parade, however, may have been Brightstar Childcare’s “Rock Around the Clock” entry, decorated in vibrant yellow and green.

The MacIntyre Park Middle School band brought up the rear of the parade with a swinging version of “Hound Dog.”

“I thought the parade was nice. All of the organizations were represented and everybody was having a good time,” said Jangloria Diggs, 14. “I especially liked the MacIntyre Park band. They sounded wonderful.”

Her brother, Jay Diggs, 15, also enjoyed the event.

“It’s great for the city because it gives everybody something to do,” he said. “It’s just a positive thing for the community. Everybody can come out and had fun.”

The 58th annual Rose Parade, featuring Sha Na Na as grand marshals, is scheduled to roll today along the same route at 7 p.m.

Reporter Brewer Turley can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 226.

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