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Parade does ASU, community proud

Albany State University Marching Ram Show Band performs during Saturday’s homecoming parade on Pine Avenue. To see video footage, visit our website at www.albanyherald.com.

Albany State University Marching Ram Show Band performs during Saturday’s homecoming parade on Pine Avenue. To see video footage, visit our website at www.albanyherald.com.

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Joe Bellacomo

Mr. Royal Gentleman Charles Benford and Miss ASU Asia Love Cook wave to the crowd from their float during Albany State University’s homecoming parade on Pine Avenue Saturday morning.

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Joe Bellacomo

A Buffalo Riders Club member waves to spectators on Pine Avenue during the ASU Homecoming Parade Saturday morning.

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Joe Bellacomo

Albany State University Golden Passionettes perform during Saturday’s homecoming parade on Pine Avenue.

ALBANY, Ga. -- There is a deep community feeling every year at the Albany State University Homecoming Parade, and Saturday offered a prime example.

While bands played, floats passed by and clowns cavorted for a crowd of thousands along Pine Avenue, Lilie Hyman described it:

"I am an ASU alumna, and I brought my child here to the parade. Now I bring my grandchildren, and someday I'll bring my great-grandchildren," Hyman said. "It does the whole city good to come out to our university parade. Black, white, it doesn't matter. This is our home college."

Sitting next to Hyman on the steps at Pine Avenue and Jackson Street, Belinda Quick also brought her grandchildren.

"I've been back in town for a few years, but this is the first time I've come to a parade," Quick said. "I can see how good it is for kids and adults."

The parade featured high school bands, floats from businesses, civic organizations and local officials such as Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul waving to the crowd.

Mixing with the crowd before the parade started, clowns in full costume regalia such as Sir Mickie and the famous Clem the Clown from the Al Rakim Temple No. 142 took delight in the recognition they received.

While Mickie started his strut down the street to applause, Clem the Clown, aka Dennis Giddens, posed for several pictures. One was by polite and admiring request.

"I came to the parade and I got a chance to stand next to Clem the Clown to have my picture taken," said Emma McDowell. "That's really great."

Clem gave McDowell a twisty balloon animal to take as a souvenir.

Time at the parade flew by as various high-stepping high school bands, such as the Monroe Comprehensive High School Golden Tornadoes with its concentrated drum lines and the tuba players with rocking moves, played their hearts out.

Great dancing from other groups and the tight harmony of the Albany High Chorale singing the Whitney Houston hit "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" pleased the crowd to no end.

As the parade came to a close in front of the Government Center the Albany State University Marching Rams revved through exciting brass and drum music that set the tone for the homecoming game later in the afternoon.

"I love coming to Albany for the homecoming parade," said Jesse Howard of Atlanta at his T-shirt kiosk. "Not only is it good business, but it is exciting for the people."