2009 African-American Heritage Parade by you.

Every year, my friend Carla Mitchell goads me into driving a car in the African-American Heritage Parade.  In 2007 and 2008, I drove my own convertible.  But since I sold it last year, I had to borrow this beautiful Mercedes-Benz to make the trip.

Riding with me are Patricia Moore (left) and Miss Eula Belle Douglas (right).

Patricia is one of the three founding members of the Eustis African-American Heritage Festival.  Against the protests of the other two founders, she pushed hard for the inclusion of a kick-0ff parade.  After they dropped their resistance, the parade made it’s debut and has been a fitting beginning to a day full of music, food and fellowship for the past 15 years.

This year, Patricia withdrew from helping with the festivities because she’s battling cancer.  A hospice nurse by training, Patricia knows all too well how important it is for her to spend time with her family and friends, as her diagnosis is terminal.

Without her knowledge, the committee made her the grand marshal and sprung it on her at the last minute. 

The night before the parade, the committee held the annual Black Achievers Banquet and honored 12 area African-Americans for their efforts to better themselves and their community.

Ms. Eula Belle Douglas, known around town and “Godmomma” for the number of children she either raised or babysat in over 53 years in Eustis, was one of the honorees and rode in my car with Ms. Moore.

I enjoy driving in the parade and seeing all the excited children, eagerly anticipating candy and the festival to follow.

Plus, the food at the festival is AWESOME!!!