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Snellville Days parade features 'Beverly Hillbillies' star

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

SNELLVILLE -- Lilburn resident Dick Brunning got the chance to realize a childhood dream Saturday at Snellville Days at Briscoe Park.

He was first in line to meet Donna Douglas, the actor who played backwoods blonde beauty Elly May Clampett in the "Beverly Hillbillies" television show from 1962 to 1971.

"I was just a huge, huge 'Beverly Hillbillies' fan growing up," he said. "Are you kidding me? I mean it was a religion. You had to have your homework done in order to sit and watch television. My son had Daisy Duke. I had Elly May. We just loved the show. I had the toys when I was little."

Brunning spotted Douglas earlier in the parade, where she appeared as special guest.

"What a nice surprise out here in Snellville and no rain," he said.

Though rain threatened throughout the day, the drizzle turned light rain never caused more of a problem than a minor traffic jam of strollers at the rock bridge as moms tried to turn back toward shelter for their babies.

Vendors remained in place, stage shows continued, music blared and kids fed hungry ducks while others climbed around the playground.

"We were concerned because of the weather, but we had more people in the parade this year than in a long time, which is a good sign," Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said. "We've got a good turnout so far at Snellville Days so I'm just very pleased."

Not only was the parade full this year Oberholtzer said they sold all their vendor spots and tents, even having to turn some away.

"I don't know if that's because we've got an election year coming up or what, but we've got a real good turnout," he said.

Besides politicians, which were well represented, local businesses were handing out samples and promotional materials. Food vendors were strategically placed and artists and craftsmen were selling everything from paintings to jewelry to baby bibs to fringed flip-flops.

"I just like the crafts," said Lisa Salerno, a Snellville resident. "I like looking at all the advertisers for all the companies to see what's out there."

Her son, Brad, a Boy Scout with Troop 65, was in the parade earlier. He said, "We really like to adventure and see what's new every year. If there's anything we really like, we check it out, and if we like it a lot, then we buy it."

For example, they came with the intention of buying scented rocks, which they buy each year from a particular vendor.

For the Schull family of Grayson, this was their first time experiencing Snellville Days.

Mom Kerri said, "It's nice. It's bigger than I expected." She also liked the hand-crafted items.

But, 7-year-old daughter Gracie, a student at Cooper Elementary, enjoyed visiting the greyhound adoption booth. They had brought along their own greyhound and were petting it while standing in line at the junior bungee jump.

"We got her from those people. We brought her back to visit," Kerri said. "They remembered her right away."

The Schulls were not alone with their canine companions. Many were on an athletic field learning how to train their dogs to catch a flying disc.