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King Day festivities planned for this weekend, Monday

A local businessman and Cairo High School graduate is the grand marshal of Monday’s parade honoring Martin Luther King Day. Gary Leone Grant will be the honored guest of the parade and featured speaker at a program held at Cairo’s Holder Park following the procession through downtown.
The parade, which begins at Roddenbery Memorial Library at 11 a.m., will proceed south down Broad Street to MLK Boulevard then west to Holder Park. There are approximately 70 units signed up to march in the parade, according to Reneé Gee-Theophille, one of the organizers of the day’s events.
At Holder Park beginning at noon, the top three winners of a float judging contest will be announced along with the winners of two other contests that have already taken place. Winners of a performance art competition, “Voices of the Dream MLK Contest,” Da’Yanah Imani Smith, 17, Madison Devoux, 14, and Savannah Holt, 7, will each receive $100 during the ceremony. They will perform their winning entries at the MLK Scholarship Banquet scheduled for Feb. 10 at 6 p.m.
Winners of a local MLK Day Art Contest will be announced Friday at Cairo High School, and they will be recognized Monday with their art on display. All entries will be exhibited at the Scholarship Banquet.
The theme for Monday’s events in Cairo is “50 Years, Soaring Toward Justice,” as announced by the MLK Collaborative Group, a group of private local citizens who sponsor the parade and Holder Park ceremony.
“This parade involves the entire community to unify and keep Dr. Kings Dream Alive,” says Renee Gee-Theophille, president of the collaborative.
Gary Grant, parade grand marshal, was born in Climax on Sept. 23, 1957 and graduated from Cairo High School. In addition to working as an entrepreneur, Grant serves as a minister. He says he has studied at the Theocratic Ministry School for 35 years where he developed skills in speaking, research, reading, writing, and race relations.
Grant is owner of Tender Hearts Preschool in Cairo and is EPA Certified as a technician for air conditioner refrigeration. He is also skilled in plumbing and construction.
Married to Verna L. Grant, they have two children and one grandson. Grant says he enjoys traveling, shooting pool, and cooking. He says he looks forward to one day owning his own sport and bar grill.
Another highlight of the local observance of King Day is the church services hosted by the Grady County Ministerial Alliance to be held this Sunday night beginning at six o’clock at Bethlehem A.M.E. Church. The special guest speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Russell Allen Wright Sr., the Founding Senior Pastor/Teacher of First Providence Community Missionary Baptist Church of Panama City, Fla.
The son of public educators. Rev. Wright is also a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He is the onwer of Russell A. Wright Sr.., Mortuary in Panama City.
The Rev. Dr. Wright is a singer and enjoys playing the piano.
Tickets are already on sale for the MLK Scholarship Banquet, which will be held at the Grady County Agriculture Center. There is a $20 donation for individuals to attend the banquet and $160 for a table. Tickets can be purchased at Cairo DUI School/Right Way Defensive Driver School or Tender Hearts Day Care or from any MLK Collaborative Member.
For more information about Monday’s events, contact Gee-Theophille at or (229) 377-6629 or (229) 221-5914.

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