Perry Wellness Center Enjoys 1st Place Win at Downtown Christmas Parade

Parade 2021 aLast Friday evening, downtown Americus, Georgia hosted its annual Christmas parade, filled with music and featuring a float competition. For the fifth year, Perry Wellness Center won first prize in the contest. The theme of this year’s float was “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” from the beloved “Toy Story” animated movie series. This theme reflected a focus on providing the support of peers to individuals making a journey of recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. The intricately lighted and colorful float featured some familiar figures, including PWC founder and CEO Stuart Perry as Buzz Lightyear, Amanda Perry Campbell as Woody, Faith Curtis as Jessie, and a variety of clients or peers as other characters. Additional peers concealed themselves in boxes on the float as they made their proud ride past the judges’ box at the historic Windsor Hotel.

Coordination of this year’s float planning and construction was led by Amanda and creative designer Jeff Williams. When asked about their continued success in winning floats, Amanda explained, “It takes a team to complete this float. I thank all of our clients, staff, and supporters for helping us complete this task.”

Parade 2021 cDetailed planning is also critical. Amanda and Jeff met early to share ideas for a float and select a theme. Sample detail: before the first construction began, sweatshirts were already on order for each member of the float’s “cast.”  The amount of thought put into this detail was reflected in the shirts’ design elements, which included nine images of important people and even animals who helped form the recovery network at Perry Wellness Center. 
Once the overall plan was completed, Jeff worked tirelessly with hammer and paint brush to bring the float concept to life. Though the float drew gasps as it made its way through downtown, the finishing touches were made only hours before its launch.

“I worked hard all week on the design but finished only minutes before moving the float into the parking lot of the new classroom building,” Jeff acknowledged. 

But the longtime colleagues feel that the project was worth all the hours of planning and hammering. Amanda noted, “When we rolled out the float for first viewing at the center, the smiles and celebration of all the peers made all the effort and thought worthwhile.”

Jeff added, “The cheers and smiles from clients and staff did made the effort worthwhile. It is fun to see smiles of approval.”

Stuart was pleased with the repeat win for the Perry Wellness family. He enthused, “This was a fun theme, and I enjoyed helping make the load lighter.” The competitive behavioral health advocate added, “I appreciate all the help – and another first place!” 

In the first photo above, the magical float shines in the gathering darkness, a symbol of friendship and teamwork in the holiday season. As Stuart observed, “The float was the most colorful and brightly lit in the parade. You could see it far down the parade route.”

In the second photo, Jeff finishes last-minute detail work on the float before its public reveal. Congrats to Jeff, Amanda, and the entire Perry Wellness family for a job well done.

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