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Ball Ground Celebrates Christmas With Toy March

"Officer Don" Kennedy, host of a children's program that aired during the 1950s and 1960s, will serve as this year's grand marshal for the parade.

"Officer Don" Kennedy.
"Officer Don" Kennedy.

The city of Ball Ground will give back to less fortunate children with its March of the Toys Parade on Friday.

The parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Ball Ground and attendees are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy — or toys — to be donated to the Toys for Tots program.

Tim Cavender, one of the parade organizers who has been portraying Santa Claus for the past 40 years, said he wanted to do something special to commemorate his dedication. That's where the parade to benefit Toys for Tots comes into play.

Cavender and his wife Pam have been the Santa and Mrs. Claus for the Georgia Governor’s Mansion for the past four years and will return to the mansion for the lighting of the state Christmas tree on Dec. 8.   

"We have been very blessed during the past several years as Santa and Mrs. Claus and one of favorite appearances is in my hometown of Ball Ground," Cavender added. 

The grand marshal for the parade is "Officer Don" Kennedy who was a well-known host of a children’s program on WSB television in the 1950’s and 60’s. 

Cavender said he was "so excited" when Kennedy decided to serve as grand marshal, adding every child in metro Atlanta watched the show when it was on the air.

Kennedy will also stick around after the parade to meet fans for photos and autographs.  

Along with Kennedy, a replica on the 1966 Batmobile, the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine and a replica on Andy Griffith’s patrol car will also make an appearance in the parade.   

Other groups and objects slated to appear include: Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders, Marietta Twilight Twirlers, Atlanta Pirates and Wenches Guild, Marietta Derby Darlings, the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion of Star Wars costumers, Christian Fine Arts of Forsyth County Marching Band, Civil War re-enactors, costumed characters, dance troupes, floats, tractors and antique cars.  

The event will also have music by the North Georgia Home School Chorus and the Ball Ground Historical Society will be selling their first in a series of Christmas ornaments, which feature the old Ball Ground Depot. 

The organization will also be selling their new 2014 Then and Now calendar. 

After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available in the gazebo in downtown Ball Ground for photos. Photos with the Clauses are free, so attendees need to bring a camera to the event. 

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