By: Alicia Couch Payne
Buford is a city firmly rooted in its traditions. A city that is proud of its school and athletics. For generations residents line up along Main Street on a Fall Friday afternoon to watch the annual Homecoming parade and they end their Friday at the Football stadium to catch the Homecoming football game.
When I interviewed city officials if they could tell me the exact number of parade attendants, they jokingly told me “What’s the population of Buford?!”. Having gone the entire length of the parade route, I have come to agree. The whole city turns up to watch the parade from young to old and everyone in between. It’s a tradition…
This tradition begins at the Tannery Row’s massive parking lot where the parade participants line up and do last minute touch ups to their floats or costumes. The participants range from police and city marshals who open the parade to Football players and cheerleaders of every age group to the beautiful ladies of Homecoming court and recent pageant winners to the infamous Wolves Marching Band.
One can feel the parade participant’s excitement and pride in being part of this tradition. A long time veteran of the parade, Varsity Cheerleader, Co-Captain Samantha Williamson said, “This parade is just as exciting to me as the first one I was in.” Part of being in the parade is getting to throw enough candy out to the kids watching the parade to make Willy Wonka jealous. “Seeing all the kids going for the candy.” is Varsity Cheerleader Diamond Cunningham’s favorite part of being in the parade.
Don’t be fooled, plenty of adults join in on the candy collecting fun. There’s always more than enough to go around. The parade participants are armed with bucket loads of candy so that it will last them the entire way down Main Street and onto Sawnee Avenue where the parade ends at the High School. Kids can be seen scrambling for the good candy as well as beads and other small trinkets the participants toss out.
The city workers are to be commended for how quickly they get this major thoroughfare reopened to drivers trying to go about their business. As soon as the parade passes a street, the workers stationed in that area quickly get busy sweeping up the candy that got crushed and other trash left behind by the parade. The well oiled machine opens the streets back up in no time.