LEESBURG, Ga. — The Lee County Chamber of Commerce is planning a homecoming celebration Saturday for Leesburg’s Phillip Phillips, one of the remaining four contestants on Fox TV’s “American Idol.”
Phillips is set to return home for a parade and short concert on that day, chamber officials say.
“We are so excited for Phillip and his family, and we are honored to plan an event to celebrate the outstanding achievements of one of our own,” Chamber President Winston Oxford said in a news release. “We are extremely proud of Phillip and our community for all of their support.”
The parade will start at 2:30 p.m. and will run along State Highway 32 from Starksville Avenue to Lee County High School. At 3 p.m., a short concert is being planned at the Lee County High School football stadium.
Gates open for the event at 2 p.m. Officials are asking that attendees not bring coolers or backpacks.
The plans are tentative, based on the assumption that Phillips makes it past this week’s elimination round.
“This is all contingent on him making it into the top three,” said Lisa Davis, marketing director and vice president for the chamber. “If he is voted off, everything is canceled ... so we are encouraging everyone to vote, vote, vote.
“We have had phone calls come in with people thinking we would have it regardless, but he would be unable to participate (if eliminated).”
Since becoming a finalist on the show, Phillips has seen an outpouring of hometown support. Next to the Leesburg city limit sign on U.S. Highway 19, his name was written on a piece of paper and attached to a sign that already lists the names of singer Luke Bryan and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey — both of whom also hail from Leesburg.
Additionally, Phillips was given a key to the city of Leesburg — which his parents accepted on his behalf — and Tuesday evening the Lee County Commission signed a proclamation declaring Saturday Phillip Phillips Day. Viewing parties have also been conducted in venues such as the high school in recent weeks for his fans to show their support.
“We hope people will come out and support him,” Davis said. “We’ve had numerous phone calls, so I think we’ll have people from all around (attend on Saturday).”
“American Idol” is scheduled to air again tonight, with another elimination show to take place on Thursday. At that time, the top three competitors will be named.
The event on Saturday is free and open to the public.