LEESBURG, Ga. — Say one thing for Lee County: Its native sons don't forget where they came from.
A year after San Francisco Giants World Series hero and National League Rookie of the Year Buster Posey served as grand marshall of Lee's Spirit of Christmas Parade and Festival, Lee County Chamber of Commerce officials have pulled off coup No. 2, landing red-hot country music star Luke Bryan to serve as grand marshall.
Both Posey and Bryan grew up in Lee County and graduated from Lee County High School.
"We are so excited to have Luke agree to serve as parade grand marshall," Lee Chamber Vice President/Director of Marketing, Membership and Events Lisa Davis said Thursday shortly after confirming the country star's appearance. "With his schedule, we're just taken aback that he could work us in.
"With Buster coming here last year and now Luke, that just shows what kind of excellent young men we have in our community. We don't take credit for getting them to come; it's just that they wanted to give back to their hometown."
Davis credited former YMCA Director and current Leesburg City Councilwoman Judy Powell with working behind the scenes to secure Bryan's appearance. The Academy of Country Music award winner is currently touring behind his No. 1 country album "Tailgates and Tanlines."
The 23rd edition of Lee's Spirit of Christmas Parade and Festival is scheduled for Dec. 3. The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a downtown festival featuring vendors, entertainment, food, a children's play area and an opportunity for kids to have their photo taken with Santa.
The festival will stretch over the weekend, as officials plan to show the popular Jim Carrey movie "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" at the recreation fields on Starksville Avenue Friday evening starting at 6 p.m. Admission to the movie is the donation of an unwrapped toy or canned goods.
"We're excited about this year's festival," Davis said. "In addition to Luke serving as grand marshall and the community movie, the Marine Corps Band (from Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany) will be a part of the parade. We've been trying to get them to join us for a long time."
Davis said Bryan will not have an opportunity to perform or sign autographs during the parade/festival.
"We're just pleased that he was able to work us into his busy schedule," she said.