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Parade kicks off fair today
45th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair opens gates at 6 p.m.
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Youngsters enjoy a ride on a float from a past Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair parade. The annual parade, which kicks off fair week, begins today at 5 p.m., followed by the opening of the gates at the fairgrounds at 6 p.m. - photo by FILE
    Roads will be blocked in downtown Statesboro this afternoon to accommodate the 45th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair parade, which kicks off a week full of fun at 5 p.m. today.
    Roads leading to North and South Main streets will be cordoned off and traffic redirected so a line of floats, beauty queens, dignitaries, bands, horses and more can march, roll or prance downtown from Olliff Street to Fair Road. Statesboro Kiwanis member and Parade Chairman Harry Wachniak said he expects about 3,000 participants in the parade, which has almost 100 entries.
    Parade participants are banned from throwing candy and items to the crowd, and while the Statesboro Police Department will be monitoring the event from start to finish, spectators are asked to remain on the sidewalks for safety reasons.
    Local school bands will strut their stuff, dignitaries will wave from inside cars or, in the case of the Bulloch County Commission, from atop a replica of the Bulloch County Courthouse. Beauty queens with glamorous gowns arranged over hoods of sports cars will smile and wave, and floats with agriculture themes will vy for prizes as they roll past  the judges.
    Classic cars will rev engines and antique tractors will chug along, followed by gaggles of ballet dancers, tae kwon do students and day care groups.  Last, but not least, local horseback riders will come along, bringing up the rear of the parade.
    After the parade ends, the fairgrounds on Ga. 67  will open at 6 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Miss Ogeechee Fair Alaina Lewis. Admission is free to the public today, but will be $5 general admission for the rest of the week.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.
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