Gator Bowl Parade to Kick Off in Grand Style

Jacksonville, FL - The Winn-Dixie Hometown Gator Bowl Parade will take center stage as it kicks off on Thursday, December 31 in downtown Jacksonville beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Grand Marshals for the 2009 Winn-Dixie Hometown Gator Bowl Parade are: Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden, former Lonestar lead singer, Richie McDonald and Brigadier General Ronald Bailey, Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region.

Bobby Bowden will be making his 28 consecutive Bowl appearance in the January 1, 2010 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl. This consecutive streak began in the 1982 Gator Bowl Game against West Virginia University….it is fitting that Bobby Bowden will be coaching his final game in the Gator Bowl against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Richie McDonald, former Lonestar lead singer, is one of the industry’s most successful songwriters and has penned some of the era’s most memorable songs and earned a mantle full of awards and nominations. McDonald, launching his solo career with the release of “Six-Foot Teddybear,” has earned six gold and platinum albums, several CMA and ACM awards as well as BMI awards for songwriting. In writing and singing “I’m Already There” he was responsible for a song embraced by the military and their families that became the unofficial anthem for U.S. troops serving the Middle East. Richie McDonald will also appear in the Wachovia Pregame ceremonies with an entertaining performance that will conclude with the singing of the National Anthem.

Brigadier General Ronald Bailey is currently serving as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region. Born in St. Augustine, Florida, Brigadier General Bailey graduated from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee in 1977. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on July 1, 1977. Brigadier General Bailey’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal with bronze oak leaf, Leion of Merit w/combat V, Meritorious Service with 2 gold stars, Navy and marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

The Winn-Dixie Hometown Gator Bowl Parade has over 72 units including 10 high schools bands from across the country, festive floats and the marching bands from West Virginia University and Florida State University.

The parade route begins at the Water Street/N. Jefferson Street intersection and continues down Water Street to N. Laura Street then onto W. Bay Street heading back to the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

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