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Parade marked opening of Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair
miss ogeechee fair
Miss Ogeechee Fair Alaina Lewis, a 19-year-old Ogeechee Technical College student, opened ceremonies Monday with a ribbon cutting as the 45th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair. - photo by CLIFF HOLT

FAir Parade 06

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A light mist of rain didn't stop folks from lining the streets of downtown Statesboro Monday afternoon to watch a line of beauty queens, antique tractors, colorful floats and marching bands herald the opening of the 45th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair.
    As a matter of fact, when the mist began, people just popped open umbrellas. Within minutes the fine rain stopped and the parade began with the wail of sirens as police escorted the entourage down North and South Main Streets.
    Dignitaries waved from inside sleek vehicles. Political candidates handed out candy, flags and campaign paraphernalia, shaking a hand or two along the way.  Children grinned from flatbed trailers decorated with colorful displays of fall produce. Fire trucks from local fire departments blasted sirens as kids giggled and held their hands over their ears.
    It was a full parade, said Kiwanis Parade Chairman Harry Wachniak, estimating participants at up to 3,000, with over 95 entries. The parade lasted an hour from start to finish.
    Beauty queens, including Miss Ogeechee Fair Alaina Lewis, sat on top of convertible cars, gowns spread out in fans over the seats, waving regally to the crowds. Some tiny beauty queens tittered and blushed as they realized they were the object of attention.
    Local citizens drover antique tractors, classic cars, or powerful all-terrain vehicles, followed by floats adhering to the fair's theme  - "Agriculture: We Feed America."
    Other groups just marched. Bands marched to the tune of their own music;  child care groups marched to the beat of their own chatter; dance groups marched to music provided by live DJs who accompanied the crowd.
    There were dogs from the Statesboro-Bulloch County Humane Society, and horses, including miniature horses carrying bags of "coffee" advertising a local coffee house.
    The parade was a reflection of the wide scope of activity found in Bulloch County. Local churches were represented and a variety of area clubs and organizations, including a number of Red Hat Society groups, participated in the parade by marching or riding in vehicles. Some Red Hatters, dressed in their noticeable attire of red and purple, rode bicycles and showed off as they paraded past.
    After the parade was over, citizens gravitated towards the fairgrounds on Ga. 67, where Miss Ogeechee Fair Alaina Lewis led the grand opening and ribbon cutting at 6 p.m.
    Lewis, 19, a student at Ogeechee Technical College,  is the daughter of Tommy and Melanie Lewis of Statesboro.
    Admission was free Monday night, but for the rest of the week, general admission is $5. Wrist stamps will be available today, Thursday and Saturday for $18 each, which allows bearers to ride any ride, as many times as they wish. Friday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. is "Midnight Madness," when wrist stamps will be sold for $15 each.
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