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Oxford to host Independence Day parade

OXFORD - Residents in the city of Oxford are looking forward to welcoming surrounding communities into their town again for Independence Day festivities.

The city of Oxford and the Oxford Lions Club are presenting the annual Fourth of July Parade and Celebration on Friday morning.

The parade lineup starts at 9 a.m. on Haygood Avenue near the Oxford College tennis courts before the parade kicks off at 10 a.m.

"If you're looking for a good, old-fashioned Fourth of July, this is where you'll find it," said Nancy Henderson, co-chairwoman of the Oxford Lions Club.

As is customary, a resident of Oxford will get the seat of honor in the parade. This year, Oxford's mayor and City Council members selected former mayor and city attorney Don Ballard as the 2008 Citizen of the Year. The lifelong Oxford resident will ride in the parade and serve as grand marshal.

"He's always been a very distinguished young man," said City Clerk Carol Poole, who recommended his name to the council. "He's been a good asset in the community; I really thoroughly enjoyed working with him - he's a real pleasure."

Poole has worked for the city for 18 years and worked with Ballard for many of those years; he served as the city's attorney for 52 years and mayor for more than two years, until he stepped down early from his seat in May 2006. Afterward, he remained involved with Oxford by helping bring the new maintenance facility on line.

"I was just proud to be selected" as Citizen of the Year, said Ballard, 81, who also represented Newton County in the state Legislature for 26 years. "We have a real good parade - there's a lot of comradeship and people getting together. ... Oxford is one of the nicest places there is to live."

Ballard will ride in the parade, likely on the old fire truck, as other vehicles, floats, bicycles and others join him in the lineup.

The parade route begins near the tennis courts at Oxford College on Haygood Avenue, take a right on Stone Street, turn left on Queen Ann Street and take another left on West Bonnell Street before turning left on Emory Street; the parade then will continue to West Watson Street, where it will take a left, and then turn left again on Wesley Street, ending near the Old Church.

Poole said the city doesn't encourage those in the parade to throw out candy or any other items, but rather hand it out, so no children run into the street in the parade line and get injured.

After the parade, guests are invited to join a celebration at the Old Church, where Ballard will be recognized and Mayor Jerry Roseberry will present prizes for best float, best car or truck, best other motorized vehicle, best bicycle and most unusual entry from those who registered and selected a number by 9:30 a.m. at the registration table at Pierce Street next to Allen Memorial United Methodist Church.

At the church, Tommy Millwood will perform live music, and guests can enjoy an array of food - hot dogs and hamburgers, corn on the cob sold by the Oxford Boy Scout Troop, ice cream sold by Allen Memorial UMC and free watermelon and popcorn from the Oxford Lions Club.

For questions or more information about July 4 activities, call Oxford City Hall at 770-786-7004 or visit www.oxfordgeorgia.org.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Oxford's Fourth of July Parade

· When: 10 a.m. Friday (registration and parade lineup at 9 a.m.)

· Route: Haygood Avenue to the Old Church on Wesley Street

· More Information: Call Oxford City Hall at 770-786-7004 or visit www.oxfordgeorgia.org