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Merkel named as Fiesta Days parade marshal

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Lathan Goumas -
Pete Merkel

McHENRY – Pete Merkel, McHenry’s first parks and recreation director, has been named as the 2013 Fiesta Days parade marshal.

Fiesta Days will be held July 12-21. The Fiesta Days Parade will be at 1:30 p.m. July 21.

Merkel will be honored at a parade marshal ceremony at 7 p.m. July 18 at Veterans Memorial Park, 3400 Pearl St., McHenry. Merkel will receive special recognition from the city of McHenry and the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. 

For a list of Fiesta Days events, visit

At an April retirement party in honor of Merkel’s 33 years as the city’s parks and recreation director, Mayor Sue Low announced that Knox Park Pool will be renamed the Pete J. Merkel Aquatic Center. Merkel was instrumental in the pool's construction.

“When I think about Pete at work, I think about this tenacious person who recognized what our community needed to be well-rounded and offered something for everyone,” Low said at the retirement party. “He just methodically set out to get all of those things. We have a skate park. We have Fort McHenry. We have a lake to swim in, a pool to swim in, a river to build a beautiful riverwalk on. He has just always been a visionary.”

Merkel grew up in McHenry, and his two children and one grandchild all live in the city. He also serves on a number of boards and volunteer groups.

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