Because the immensely popular Merrysville for the Holidays celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, city leaders looked to the event's beginnings as it named the Grand Marshal for this year's Electric Lights Parade.
Mary Swenson retired in 2010 after serving 32 years with the City of Marysville, the last nine as City Administrator. She was here in 1989 - along with former Mayor Rita Matheny and longtime Parks, Culture and Recreation Director Jim Ballew - when the holiday festival got its start with Santa, cookies and music in the former gazebo at Comeford Park. The holiday parade and water tower lighting came a few years later.
"Rita and Jim were really the dreamers and the inspiration," Swenson said. "It was fun to make it happen and see it grow through the years into this really cherished community tradition." Swenson said her granddaughter is excited to join her for the parade car ride and waving to the audience.