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Moonshine Festival Parade features Dawsonville legend Gordon Pirkle at the helm
54th Annual Parade
Grand marshal Gordon Pirkle and K.A.R.E. volunteers greet attendees during the Mountain Moonshine Festival parade. - photo by Julia Hansen

Led by a float carrying this year’s grand marshal, Dawsonville legend Gordon Pirkle, the 2021 Mountain Moonshine Festival Parade commenced bright and early last Saturday morning. 

Bystanders happily waved to Pirkle as the procession, filled with a bevy of classic cars, revved their engines and cruised down the signature parade route. 

The colorful array of moonshine-era race cars made their way down Ga. 53, turning left toward downtown. The procession then took the roundabout around the old courthouse, where festival vehicles used to park, before heading back toward Memory Lane. 

In keeping with the jubilant atmosphere, numerous cars threw candy to the parade’s younger viewers and offered their own hand waves. 

The cars continued captivating the public’s attention long after the parade’s conclusion, with the vehicles parked around the vicinity of the festival grounds at Main Street Park. 

And of course, each car had its own unique story for attendees to discover. 

Norman C. “Bud” Laydon shared the tale behind his black-and-white Sosebee Ford car, driven by racecar driver Gober Sosebee. 

Sosebee built the car in 1949 or 1950 at Cherokee Garage in Atlanta, and it was originally his wife’s car. Originally all-black with the number “50” on it, the vehicle ended up being the only black-and-white car out of the over 30 with which he raced. Jerry Wimbish and Max King also raced in it. 

In 1953 or 1954, Sosebee used the car to tow his other one down to Daytona Beach. After wrecking his primary racing vehicle, he took parts from the wrecked car, putting them onto Mrs. Sosebee’s vehicle. He went on to win that race, Laydon said. 

Following that, the car went back to the Cherokee Garage for repairs and eventually another paint job to make it completely black again. Later, Max King ran a load of moonshine with it before ultimately leaving it at the Brown family farm in White, Georgia. 

The car was converted into a truck to carry sugar, which it did for about 20 years. Laydon purchased it in 2012, and he and his father repaired it. After they finished renovating it, he brought it to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. 

“Mrs. Sosebee was here working as a volunteer,” said Laydon. “When we uncovered it and she saw it, she said, ‘You brought my car back!’”