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ASU homecoming parade draws huge crowd

The Albany High School marching band entertains the crowd at the 2013 Albany State University homecoming parade held in downtown Albany Saturday morning. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

The Albany High School marching band entertains the crowd at the 2013 Albany State University homecoming parade held in downtown Albany Saturday morning. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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Albany State University supporters gather in Front of Albany Bank and Trust on Pine Avenue in Albany to watch the 2013 homecoming parade. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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Albany State University President Everette Freeman waves to a crowd of nearly 15,000 on hand to watch the 2013 homecoming parade in downtown Albany Saturday. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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A Monroe High School drummer thrills the crowd at the 2013 Albany State University homecoming parade through downtown Albany Saturday morning. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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The Albany State University Marching Rams wowed audiences in downtown Albany Saturday as part of the 2013 ASU homecoming parade. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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A young fan enjoys the 2013 Albany State University homecoming parade in downtown Albany Saturday. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — A crowd of nearly 15,000 filled the streets of downtown Albany Saturday morning to witness the 2013 Albany State University Homecoming Parade.

With 99 entries ranging from local businesses to motorcycle and horse riders, to area officials, to beauty queens to marching bands, the parade treated those in attendance to an ASU community celebration.

“It was a lot of fun,” said LaToya Lamar Jones of Albany, who arrived downtown early to make sure she and her family found good seats on the bleachers. “I really look forward to the parade.”

When asked what she enjoyed most, the former Southside Middle and Westover High School band member, said it had to be the marching bands.

“I just love the bands,” said Lamar Jones. “They were really good; Monroe and Dougherty High were great and so was Albany High; they were fantastic.”

Event organizers agreed with Lamara Jones, saying that all the entries brought something fun to the parade, making it a complete success.

“It went very well,” said Albany State University Vice President of Institutional Advancement Clifford Porter. “We had a great turnout. Everything went very smoothly.

The parade, which began promptly at 9 a.m., was led down Pine Avenue by the Albany State University ROTC Color Guard, who were then followed by a series of automobiles carrying prominent alumni and various local officials

First came ASU President Everette Freeman, followed by Albany Mayor and ASU alumnus Dorothy Hubbard. After Hubbard came US Congressman Sanford Bishop, then State Rep. Winfred Dukes and then Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler.

After the area officials passed and took their seats in the grandstands across from the courthouse, the crowd was treated to various marching bands from Albany and the surrounding area, as well as performances by cheerleading and dance squads from area schools.

In all the parade had 99 entries that travelled east down Pine Avenue before heading north up Washington Street.

The scene then shifted to the ASU campus for the homecoming football game between Albany State and Morehouse of Atlanta. Homecoming activities wrap up today with the ASU Ruby Faye Butler Memorial ROTC Run at the ASU Amphitheater.