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Bassett woman to serve as marshal of Christmas parade
Ella Turner to turn 100 in April
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Ella Turner has been named grand marshal of the ninth annual Bassett Christmas Parade on Saturday, in honor of her 100th birthday next April. (Contributed photo)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ella Turner will be the grand marshal of the ninth annual Bassett Christmas Parade that will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Shirley Amos, who co-organizes the parade with Paul Kennedy, said Turner was chosen to be grand marshal in honor of her 100th birthday.

Turner, a lifelong Bassett resident, will become a centenarian on April 3, according to a release from David Kotalik, her caregiver.

From the age of horse-drawn buggies to the current high speed trains, vehicles and planes, Turner “also witnessed the development of computers, television, chain stores and franchised restaurants,” the release stated.

Turner never married. Her six siblings and their families make up her extended family and gather each year at Christmas and for Turner’s birthday party, Kotalik wrote.

Although Turner worked “for decades as the office manager of the Bassett Walker Knitting Mill,” Kotalik said she may be best recalled as “a friend and counselor to many and” a helper during times of need.

Before Saturday’s parade begins, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry will present Turner with a badge Kotalik had made for her to celebrate the grand marshal honor.

She then will ride in Wells Fargo Stagecoach Float, sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank. Some parade goers will hold up signs with her name and age as the float passes by, Kotalik said.

Perry will ride on a fire truck, Amos said.

There are 32 entries for this year’s parade, which is “more entries this year than in years past,” Amos said.

The parade will follow the same route as usual, she added. It will start at the Main Street bridge in Bassett, travel down Main Street and back up Riverside Drive.

Entries include the Henry County Honor Guard; Bassett Volunteer Fire Department; the Fraternal Order of Police; Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School Cheerleaders; an Avon car with marchers; and a float titled “Miss Mom’s and More” with marchers, Amos said.

Also participating will be the Oak Level Baptist Church float; Therapy Direct; Girl Scout Troop 388; the Bassett High School Marching Band, cheerleaders and JROTC, she said.

Numerous antique vehicles and tractors, as well as units from the Piedmont T’s, Cub Scout Pack 72; the Philpott Christmas Critters float by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers; and several other churches — including Mt. Bethel United Methodist, Pleasant Hill Baptist, Bassett Church of the Brethren and the youth group from Highland Baptist Church — also will participate, Amos said.

Volunteer fire departments from Patrick-Henry, Fairystone and Fieldale will be featured as will Bassett and Fieldale-Collinsville volunteer rescue squads; Teresa’s School of Dance; R and D rollback truck and two special vehicles; Underwood Auto Sales; Star City Mustang and Ford Club; a dune buggy, horses and golf carts.

Santa Claus will be on the last vehicle in the parade, Amos said. The jolly old elf will arrive on the back of a red and black truck driven by Trey Long of CC Rider Automotive.

Although Santa is the attraction for many youngsters, the parade has earned a reputation for “bringing all the people together, seeing old friends, making new friends and discussing what an industrious place we were,” Amos said.

It also “adds Christmas cheer and gives people something to look forward to,” she said.

The “weather has a lot to do with attendance, and we are supposed to have beautiful weather,” Amos said. “It should bring out a whole lot of people. We hope to see you there.”

 

 
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