A Parade Through the Center of the Universe

(Left) Emerson Crane, 10, is lovingly transferred from a wheelchair to a prime spot in front of the old courthouse to watch the parade in his honor.

Dade is not the best county in America for eating at ethnic restaurants or shopping for haute couture. But if you happen to want to be surrounded by the warmth and love of a community that takes care of its own, there's absolutely no beating the place.

Exhibit A: Dade denizens turned out in for force for a parade on Saturday through downtown Trenton in honor of Emerson Crane, a 10-year-old brain tumor patient recently transferred to hospice care. The Trenton Police Department organized the event, the Dade County Sheriff's Department rushed to help, and civic organizations and volunteers jumped right in.

Attendance was stellar, with families lining Main Street from the Bank of Dade on the north to Ingle's on the south.

The theme was Disney characters, with a "purple default." Emerson is crazy about purple, apparently, so purple balloons floated everywhere, and those caught by the big day without a Snow White costume handy sported purple Emerson T-shirts instead.

The high school marching band (assembled above), which played in the parade, managed a good percentage of Disney costumes. Not the horned headdress of Maleficent in center. (The Planet wants one!)

Not everyone was in purple--this toy soldier was in green including his skin. Luckily, green and purple are complementary, right?

Dade's volunteer fire departments as well as the Georgia Forestry Service line up their shiny fire engines on a side street for the parade. Shriner clowns, antique cars and many fanciful Disney-themed floats were also attractions.

From his place of honor in front of the historic Dade courthouse, Grand Marshal Emerson Crane watches all this activity organized for his entertainment. The little boy seemed tired but pleased.

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