Valdese, NC – The Town of Valdese is proud to honor the remaining direct descendants of the original Waldensian Settlers as the Grand Marshals for the Annual Valdese Christmas Parade, which will be held on Saturday, December 1, at 10am.
“On May 29, 1893, Southern Railway’s No. 11 chugged its way three miles west of Icard Station at Connelly Springs to a prearranged spot ‘in the middle of no-where’ and stopped long enough to deposit a travel-weary band of twenty-nine souls who were to break ground on a settlement…The impoverished band of Alpine farmers quickly realized the rock infested ground was unsuitable for farming and to top it off, none of them spoke English.” (McCall, M. (1993) What Mean These Stones. Valdese, NC: Historic Valdese Foundation).
The Valdese Christmas Parade will conclude a year-long celebration of 125 years for the Town of Valdese. “Throughout this past year, Valdese residents and visitors alike have participated in numerous celebrations honoring our unique Waldensian heritage. What better way to conclude the celebratory year but to honor the remaining direct descendants,” states Morrissa Angi Community Affairs Director for the Town of Valdese.
Those being honored as Grand Marshals include – Mr. Ed Bleynat, Mr. Frank Grill, Ms. Imogene Pons Hudson, Mr. Steve Martinat, Ms. Doris Burris, Ms. Phyllis Jacumin, Ms. Rosalba Shook, Mr. Jim Rostan, Mr. John Rostan, Ms. Rheta Micol Robinson, Mr. Edward Micol, Jr.– Along with these individuals, we are also honoring those who passed away this celebratory year, Ms. Naomi Rostan (March 8, 1919 – April 20, 2018) and Mr. Henry “Benji” Perrou (August 13, 1920 – March 5, 2018). The Grand Marshals who are able to join us will be honored at the beginning of the parade and will ride in the Burke County Tourism Ridgeline Trolley.
The parade will begin at the corner of Church Street and Main Street, and will conclude at the corner of Morgan Street and Main Street. The Piedmont & Western Railroad Museum will host an open house at the Old Rock School the morning of the parade. Parade visitors are invited to view the HO scale model railroad exhibit which stretches from Marion, NC to Leadvale, TN. Admission is free, and donations are greatly appreciated.
“I would like to thank our Valdese Merchants Association for their contribution to the parade by sponsoring the grand finale, Santa float,” Angi adds. “This event is a great time to come together as a community to celebrate the holidays.” Attendees are encouraged to stay on the sidewalks for safety purposes.