LEESBURG, Ga. — The final details are being put into place to bring Leesburg’s 23rd annual “Spirit of Christmas Parade and Festival” to life.
“This is to get everyone in the Christmas mood and to provide a fun-filled day,” said Lesley Barbosa, director of operations for the Lee County Chamber of Commerce.
The festivities will take place Friday and Saturday, starting with a showing of the live adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 6 p.m. Friday at the recreational fields on Starksville Avenue.
The film is something officials hope can be intertwined with the parade and festival activities.
“We are trying to make this a holiday tradition, so 10 years down the road, children can say, ‘I remember seeing “The Grinch” (at the Leesburg Christmas festivities)’,” Barbosa said.
Admission for that event will be an unwrapped toy, a canned good or pantry food item or a monetary donation. The food items will be used to pull together holiday food baskets for the needy, and the unwrapped toys will be donated to shelter children, Barbosa said.
The monetary donations will be used to buy both food and toy items, depending on what is most needed. There is no minimum donation required to view the movie, and there is even someone expected to come dressed as the Grinch.
People are encouraged to dress up as their favorite “Grinch” character and to bring their lawn chairs and blankets with them.
The parade and other festival activities will take place from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday — also on Starksville Avenue in downtown Leesburg. The parade will kick off promptly at 10 a.m., with Leesburg native and country music star Luke Bryan acting as the grand marshal.
The parade generally has more than 100 entries each year.
Following the parade, the festival will kick off with live entertainment from local musicians — not Bryan, officials stress — inflatables, pictures with Santa, arts and crafts, food vendors and rock climbing.
A crowd of at least 2,500 is expected to attend the Saturday activities, and 62 food vendors are set to participate in the day, Barbosa said.
For more information, call the chamber at (229) 759-2422.