VALDOSTA -- Valdosta has long been known as a city for champions, and last year was no exception as both Valdosta State University and Lowndes High School brought home championship titles in football. It is especially rare for two teams to win such prestigious awards for the same sport within the same year.

In honor of these achievements, the community is invited to "Cheer the Champions" with a parade, a community celebration, and fireworks

on Saturday, Jan. 29. The night of events will begin at 7 p.m.

The Cheer the Champions parade will feature players from both teams, bands from both schools, VSU President Ronald Zaccari and various public officials. Beginning near Remerton, the parade will travel down Baytree Road, turn right onto Oak Street and end in VSU's Oak Street parking lot where the Community Celebration will take place.

During the Community Celebration, Mayor John Fretti and County Commission Chairman Rod Casey will congratulate both teams on their championship wins. Other festivities include music, food, player and coach autographs and merchandise for sale by the Lowndes High Georgia Bridgemen Store and the VSU Bookstore.

At approximately 8:45 p.m., a fireworks show will bring an end to the Cheer the Champions celebration.

Amy Warren, public information officer for the City of Valdosta, believes that the Cheer the Champions Celebration benefits both the teams and the community. The public has the chance to meet with the teams and coaches one-on-one, and the football teams of Lowndes High and VSU receive appreciation and encouragement from the community.

"It's something well deserved by both teams," said Chris Hatcher, VSU football coach. "It's great to see the community get together and honor these teams that have worked hard to bring so much recognition to the area."

Coach Randy McPherson of the Lowndes High football team was equally pleased about Cheer the Champions: "We are excited. It has been a great year for us and for VSU, and we are looking forward to the celebration."

Paige Dukes, public information officer for Lowndes County, promises that rain or shine the celebration will be held, and assures that those involved in planning the event are watching the weather forecast. If it rains, those participating in the parade and celebration will be advised to take precaution and make their own decisions about involvement, but the celebration will continue with as many festivities as possible.

For information or to enter the parade, contact Amy Warren at 259-3548 or Paige Dukes at 292-6142

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