Rial Bates: Fiesta Days parade marshal significant to community

The McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce prides itself on rewarding people and organizations for a job well done. We acknowledge board members, ambassadors and people in the community for exhibiting extra effort in their professions and service to the area.

These people should be recognized, as they have made McHenry a better place to grow, enjoy and work. Our biggest award for service is our Frank E. Low Award, presented at our annual Dinner Dance. Almost equal to the Frank E. Low Award is our Parade Marshal Award, presented at Fiesta Days, McHenry’s summer community festival.

We all know that a parade marshal leads the parade. However, what we might not appreciate is why this parade marshal is so significant to the community.

It may help to review some of the selection committee’s criteria in choosing a parade marshal. The individual selected is known by many people or groups to have made a significant contribution to the McHenry area. He or she has provided inspiration that has sparked other people to become intensely involved in efforts to assist the community. The person has for many years volunteered in the community.

The individual has demonstrated an act of heroism and continues to serve people in the community. He or she may have been involved in establishing goals for community development or focuses his or her mission on improving opportunities for all people in the emotional, physical and social environment in which they live. In other words, the chosen parade marshal is very worthy of recognition by his or her community. Examples of past parade marshals in McHenry include Wayne Amore, Tom Bolger, Don Doherty, Barb Gilpin, Bill Bolger, Bob Petersen, Patricia Laycock, Don Weingart, Don Gattone, Don Howard, Denny Conway, Ron Bykowski, Jim and Kathy Marinangel, Roger Schneider and Sue Low Meyer.

The person typically is nominated by peers, friends or family in the area in which they live. They are nominated because of their commitment to the community and have served it well.

This is where the Chamber needs your help. Surely, you have a family member, work associate or friend who you know meets the above criteria. Consider nominating him or her. It is an easy process.

Nominations are being accepted at Download a parade marshal form under “Info.” Do not wait. Nominations close May 21. The decision of the parade marshal is made by the McHenry Chamber’s Fiesta Days Committee.

The selected parade marshal will be honored with family and friends at a special celebration, followed by a larger community commemoration at Veterans Memorial Park on the Thursday night of Fiesta Days during the Concert in the Park. The next Sunday, the parade marshal will lead the parade. What a memory for someone special in your life.

• • •

May and June are active mixer months. Tuesday brings us the Raue Center Joint Mixer, followed by the Gary Lang Auto Group Joint Mixer on May 21 and ending with the Health and Wellness Mixer on May 28 at Core Chiropractic.

June begins with Alden’s Kennels Joint Mixer on June 4 and the new-member Clarity Company on June 11.

Wednesday is our WINGs women’s professional networking group luncheon. The topic is “Surfing USA” “Building an Online Presence.” Discussion leaders include Kari Sharp of Get Sharp, Vanessa Baker of Fast Forward Marketing and Jenna Ehrhardt of Think Big Go Local.

Do not delay because as I write, the Chamber golf outing May 22 has only eight spots available. With a scramble format, this event is held at the McHenry Country Club and includes brunch and an early dinner. Although we may sell out, we still have a few sponsorships available.

The Chamber’s next Never Eat Alone will be June 7 at Jexal’s Wing-Zeria in McHenry.

• Kay Rial Bates is president of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at 815-385-4300 or visit

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