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Annual car rally is this weekend, new features added

Antique cars and trucks are adding a festive atmosphere around Cairo and Grady County this week, with the expanded Great Southern Antique Car Rally getting underway Friday and continuing Saturday.
New additions to the event include activities for children along with the traditional street dance Friday evening, and vendors of crafts and food during Saturday’s car show, which features the Jeep this year thanks to sponsor Stallings Motors.
The public events get underway Friday with the annual Gas Light Parade of antique cars parading up and down Broad Street beginning at 8 p.m.
As of Tuesday, there were 121 automobiles registered to participate in the rally, but more may get involved in the Gas Light Parade. Any vehicle that is at least 25 years old may participate in the parade without registering for the rally. Such vehicles must be at the Grady Cultural Center, 101 First St., NW, by 7:45 p.m. Friday.
The parade route will run on Broad Street from United National Bank, 722 N. Broad St., to the intersection of Broad Street and Fourth Avenue SE/SW.
The parade is expected to conclude by 8:30 p.m., and will be followed by a street dance in the outside areas of Grady Cultural Center with local band “Just Us” performing. The street dance is free to the community.
In addition to the musical entertainment, food vendor Dawson’s Treats will be on hand selling refreshments such as hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, ice cream, drinks and more.
A festival area for children will include bouncy houses, slides, and a train ride. A vendor will also be on hand selling glow-in-the-dark toys. Wrist bands selling for $6 each will get youngsters unlimited access to these festivities.
Prior to all of Friday’s public activities, the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce and drivers of registered antique autos will pay a special tribute to the late Ben Celaya for his early involvement with the event, which is celebrating its 26th year. Celaya was living at Magnolia Place on South Broad Street when he passed away in March. The residents of Magnolia Place along with Celaya’s family have been invited to sit on Magnolia Place’s front porch for a private parade of the antique cars and trucks along the circular driveway. Chamber officials say they plan to present a plaque in Celaya’s memory to his family.
By Saturday morning, participating drivers will take part in the annual “Poker Rally” drive around Grady County, an approximate 50 mile trek. By 11:30 a.m., the antique autos will be on display for public viewing under the shade of downtown Cairo’s Davis Park.
An arts & crafts festival will be set up adjacent to the park in the parking lot behind Roddenbery Memorial Library, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition to children’s activities, which will include bouncy houses, a train ride and face painting, 18 vendors will be on hand selling everything from jewelry to tutus.
Festival vendors include: Truly Unique Ceramics and Gifts of Whigham; Blue Lily Bath Company with homemade soaps and soy candles; Johnny’s Homemade Ice Cream; Life Wireless; Little Bee with soaps, lotions, bath salts; Princess Wardrobe and their tutus, bows and gift baskets; judicial candidate Ryan Cleveland; Lady bugs and Gifts selling painted glassware, silk flower arrangements and jewelry; Premiere Designs by Candice, jewelry; Pizza Hut of Cairo; Tastefully Simple selling seasonings, sauces and mixes; and Thirty-one by Priscilla selling handbags. Dawson’s Treats will be on hand selling refreshments.
Rally award winners will be announced around 2 p.m. at Davis Park. The Rally and festival are expected to end around 4 p.m.
In addition to the wrist bands, participants may support the chamber by purchasing 50/50 raffle tickets at $1 each. The winning ticket will be purchased at the close of the rally with the winner splitting the pot with the chamber.
Also on Saturday, May 14, Cairo’s Pizza Hut is hosting a Fundraiser Night. Every customer armed with a Fundraiser Night voucher will receive 20 percent off his or her order, and the chamber will receive a portion of the order value. 

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