Tribute service, parade to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Coweta’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and parade will be held Jan. 11 and 12.
The event, which includes the memorial program on Friday and a parade on Saturday, is sponsored by Chapter 483, Order of the Eastern Star.
The parade will begin at noon Jan. 12 and leave from Armory Road next to Newnan High School.
Everyone is invited to participate in the parade; there is a small fee for parade entries.
Floats to be judged need to be there by 9:30 a.m. If you do not wish for your float or group to be judged, you still need to be there by 10 a.m.
The memorial program will be held 7 p.m. Friday at Zion Hill Baptist Church on Pinson Street in Newnan.
The grand marshals for this year’s parade will be three students. Chapter 483 sponsored an essay-writing contest for students, and the winners in the three age groups will be the grand marshals.
This year is the 50th anniversary of King’s “I have a Dream” speech, and the students were asked to write about what the speech means to them.
There was a total of 23 essays entered, said Janice Walton, past worthy matron. All essay writers are invited to the memorial program, where they will be recognized, and the winners in the different age groups — grades three to five, middle school, and high school, will be announced.
In the early years of the Newnan King celebration, an essay contest was held each year in conjunction with the memorial program, Walton said.
“We decided this time that we wanted to go back and try to involve the young people in it more,” she said. She was impressed with the number of essays submitted. “I really wasn’t expecting to have that many,” Walton said. In addition to the public schools, students from The Heritage School and Heritage Christian also participated.
Plans are to continue the essay contest for the next few years. “Once the young people see the three students being grand marshals, I think they will be excited about it,” and that will be an incentive to participate next year, she said. The topics will be different each year.
Walton wants to do “anything we can to involve” the youth of the community “because they will have to be the ones to carry it on one day,” she said.
Chapter 483 is also looking at re-starting its Eastern Star youth chapter, she said.
For more information about this year’s events, contact event Chairwoman Margaret Thompson, past worthy matron, at 770-253-1559.