Cheerleaders get Macy’s parade invitation

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

SUFFOLK-The Spirit All-Stars, a Suffolk-based cheerleading organization with members from Franklin, Courtland and Windsor, will perform in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

The organization has been active for seven years and has participated in numerous competitions and events, including the Worlds Final Destination cheerleading competition in Virginia Beach this past spring and the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade three years ago.

&uot;We finished third overall at the Final Destination competition,&uot; said owner Susan Piland, &uot;which we’re really proud of considering that that competition is the big one.&uot;

The team received the invitation to the Macy’s parade a couple of weeks ago as they attended JamFest, one of many recent competitions for the squad. According to Piland, various representatives attend such events looking for talent. At this particular event, a representative from The Roger Miller Association, a dance and cheer organization in New York, recognized the team’s talent and invited them to join in the parade.

&uot;We’re very excited and fortunate,&uot; Piland said, &uot;because this event has just now become open to all-star teams and not just high school teams.&uot;

Approximately 650 cheerleaders from across the country will participate in the parade. Ten to 15 cheerleaders from the Spirit All-Stars are scheduled to perform. Only cheerleaders ages 14 and up are eligible to participate.

Parade officials will work with all of the cheerleaders in the days prior to the event to teach them a specific routine, which include a combination of dances, cheers and stunts. That routine is what will be exhibited in the parade.

The Spirit All-Stars currently have two gyms, one in Holland and a new one in Portsmouth. Most of the cheerleaders in the organization reside in the Suffolk, Franklin, Windsor and Courtland areas. Students range from ages 3 to 18.

The group will hold various fund-raisers over the summer for the trip.

Some of these include a pancake breakfast, a barbecue and candy sales.

The dates for these events have not

been set. The group is also seeking sponsors.

For more details, visit the organization’s Web site at