Many say Martin Luther King Jr. parade went smoothly - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Many agree parade with new route change ran smoothly

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The 35th annual Savannah Martin Luther King Junior Parade had a major change this year: the route. However, the volunteers and participants alike agreed for the most part that it went pretty well.

It's tough work keeping 325 different organizations including horsedrawn carriages, cars, and high schoolers in line, but the men and women with the orange arm bands did their best to make sure the parade went off without a hitch.

"Everyone wants to go their way, instead of the right way,"  said volunteer Philip Wright from the Goon Squad Motorcycle Club.  He's been volunteering in the staging area for three years now, and says he prefers starting the parade on East Broad Street much more than Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Wright says, "With the longer street, it gives us more accessibility to have everyone move to one side of the street or the other and not blocked up as opposed to another side of town."

It's fellow Goon Squad member Louis Giles' first year working the parade, and all the legwork is leaving him a little breathless.

"It's going smooth, but I'm also rushin' at the same time; it's got us going back and forth," said Giles.

Jenene Brown from Delta Sigma Theta has been riding in the parade for five years, and says this year is much better. 

"As far the lining up, you have more room, the men and women were holding signs, giving clear explicit instructions, so it was much more fluid," said Brown.

Eight year Savannah MLK Day parade participant veteran, Carry Smith of Today for Tomorrow said, "Last year was pure chaos; I think it's a lot better this year. The camaraderie this morning has been fantastic."

Although the route has changed the message is still the same and that what keeps Savannah native and SSU student, Tony Harris, coming to downtown. "The experience, just learning about the history and the churches and all the organizations involved, and that it is a continuous thing.  It's good to see the community all come together, no matter what race or culture you come from, to come together for what Dr. King left behind."

WTOC'S Dawn Baker and E. Larry McDuffie hosted the parade on WTOC-TV and the WTOC.com livestream.

As far as the winners of this year's parade, the parade committee is tabulating the scores, which won't be announced until the annual Dr. King Freedom and Dance Gala Feb. 15 at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. Tickets are $35.

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