Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
2018 Grand Marshal: George Rogers
In 1971, a young, determined teenager knew he needed a stable home, so George Washing-ton Rogers Jr. left the inner city streets of Atlanta and moved to Duluth Georgia to live with his Aunt. He moved into a town that not only had family support, but a high school football coach that stepped up to the role of coach and “father.” Coach Cecil Morris saw the talented George Rogers as a young man that had determination and team leadership skills. The bond between George and Coach Morris is still strong to this day, and the Duluth Fall Festival will have both men in the lead car of the parade.
In George’s senior year Coach Morris knew that George’s impeccable Duluth High School Football career had broken all local high school records as well as making the Georgia All-State team. “He could have gone to a lot of colleges in the United States, but George wanted to stay in the South.” George chose the University of South Carolina where Coach Tim Carten promised George he could play football his freshman year at USC.
During George’s years at USC (1976 – 1980) his sprinter speed and lumberjack power led USC to new heights with the team’s first ranking in the top ten; and for the first time, USC football was on national television. George Rogers was the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner and became an eternal legend in South Carolina, with some stating “he was as popular as the Governor!” We love you so much that we even named a street after you! George’s kind spirit and his recognition of his USC team-mates as a reason for his success are just a few of the reasons he is still adored.
In 1981, George was the number one draft pick for the National Football League. He was chosen by the Washington Red Skins and played seven years before retiring due to injuries. During George’s tenure with the Redskins, the team won the 1987 Super Bowl.
George is the first generation of his family to finish college. He established the George Rogers Foundation to provide financial assistance to other first-generation students.
Welcome Home George! You are also an eternal legend in Duluth, GA! Thank you for being our 2018 Grand Marshal.
2018 Honorary Grand Marshal: Barbara Howard
Honorary Grand Marshal of the Parade is Barbara Howard, Executive Officer of Duluth Food Service Corporation, Suzanna’s Kitchen. Barbara and her late husband, Henry, have been benefactors to many non-profits throughout Gwinnett County, including Gwinnett Medical Center (you can see their pictures in the Lobby of GMC-Duluth for donating more than $1,000,000), Rainbow Village of Duluth, and the Duluth Fall Festival. She says that these donations are a tangible “Thank You” to the community that supported her and Henry from the beginning. Setting an example for others is one of Barbara’s greatest contributions. She has served on many Boards in Gwinnett, but her heart is in Duluth.
In 1960, Barbara and her late husband, Henry (who was in the food industry), bought Suzanna’s Kitchen, when its sole product was Brunswick stew. They kept the company’s original name, and together, they turned the business into the successful company that it is today, with two locations in Duluth, employing more than 500 people and producing more than 100 food products.
Suzanna’s Kitchen has been a major sponsor of the Duluth Fall Festival for many years. On the Friday before the Festival the organization hosts Community Lunch, serving more than 500 First Responders and City employees, as well as Festival sponsors and volunteers. Barbara always donates Suzanna’s Kitchen BBQ and Brunswick stew, which is the original recipe from 1960, and the best you’ll ever taste!
Barbara is thankful for the blessings of having lived in a supportive community where she raised her children and where her business, now run by her son, Brad, continues to flourish. We are proud to have Barbara as the 2018 Honorary Grand Marshal.
The Parade starts on Main Street (near the Coleman Middle School), continues south and east to Highway 120, turns south to Buford Highway, and ends at Hardy Industrial Boulevard.