‘Southern Lightning’ to make inaugural appearance in annual Christmas parade


By Morgan Bryce

Santa’s sleigh may not be the fastest vehicle in this year’s Opelika Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade Dec. 1.
“Southern Lightning,” a drag-racing car owned by Opelika resident Joe Zaccaro, will make its first appearance in this year’s Christmas parade. Zaccaro owns and operates his racing operation out of a warehouse on Staley Avenue.
“I took the car to ‘Touch-A-Truck’ this year and people were just blown away. They just can’t believe that we do this and that we’re here in Opelika,” Zaccaro said. “But having the car in the parade is all about the kids. Very few kids you meet don’t have some interest in wheels … from the time they’re little, you get two little tricycles together and man, that’s a race.”
Built in 2018 and driven by T.V. Todd, the car is equipped with a GE J85 engine that is capable of helping the car reach 303 miles per hour in five seconds. Zaccaro, along with members of Auburn’s and Opelika’s ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) groups, will sit in chairs on the trailer carrying the car and wave to the crowds.
Although he was unable to recruit Santa this year, Zaccaro hinted that he may try to find a special guest of honor to ride in next year’s parade.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. For more information, visit www.opelikachamber.com.


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