Carol Chandler, one of the most passionate individuals of the Montross Fall Festival, was in the supply room of her store when Montross Town Manager Brenda Reamy delivered the news. She was chosen to be the 2013 Montross Fall Festival Grand Marshal.
“I think Carol is a deserving person. She has been a supporter and hard worker in the festival for years,” Reamy said.
Chandler said she really didn’t expect to be selected and was humbled.
“I was just completely honored, overwhelmed and grateful that they would think of me,” Chandler said. “I never thought of myself as someone to be out in the parade other than cheering it on.”
Chandler joined the community in 1968 after marrying Westmoreland County native Bryan Chandler. The couple have had two sons Brandon and Louis.
“I took my children there because we lived in town and we just looked forward to it so much,” Chandler said.
Chandler said she even recalls when it snowed and rained “like a monsoon” during festivals in years past. She’s looking forward to this one as she expects to have her grandchildren Natalie, 9, and Anthony, 6, ride with her at the front of the parade line past her store Carrot Cottage.
She called the festival a reunion for many individuals.
“Even last year I would have to run outside and look because there are so many people coming to our quiet small town for this day and so many generations of family that come home together,” she said.
The parade route, which goes down Kings Highway through the downtown area, will pass by the office of an excited Mayor David O’Dell.
“We are delighted to have her. She has certainly been a moving force in the town with a lot of endeavors. I think it’s just great,” O’Dell said.
Several years after meeting her husband Bryan at William and Mary, she opened the Carrot Cottage in 1998. Eventually, an expansion would lead her to move to the current location across from Courthouse Square in Montross two years later.
As fate would have it, Chandler was one of the key individuals in keeping the festival going when there were too few volunteers.
“It’s a wonderful tradition and so many people need it,” said Chandler, who became chairman for the festival.
While she will be stepping down due to family obligations, she said she still plans to donate gifts for the event, which will be held during the first weekend in October.
The festival is highlighted with contests, vendors, music selections and celebrations. She hopes volunteers will join in the cause with chores.
As for the future of Montross, she hopes the town will continue to move forward with its revitalization project and bring in more visitors like the festival has done.
“We’ve worked for years on that and our fall festival is wonderful because everyone comes to Montross for one day,” Chandler said. “We’re just hoping that tourism will be the glue that holds everything together and encourages economic development.”
This year’s theme of the Montross Fall Festival is “Hometown Family Fun.”
On Oct. 3, Stan’s Skateland opens the doors for a free skate. Then Montross’ kids will compete for the title of Little Miss and Mister Montross.
Wake up early for the 3K run Saturday morning, then stay out and about for contests, crafts, food, music, raffle drawing, the parade and more.
This year’s bake off: Westmoreland’s Best Chocolate Cake. Watch for more information about this contest, sponsored by Peggy Garland and Diane Waltrip.
The Kid Zone will be hosted by the O’Gara Group, a Scavenger Hunt will be sponsored by Sunbelt Realty and the Civil War Encampment will be pitched in Montross.
The annual festival parade begins at 2 p.m. The Raffle is a 50/50 split. Last year’s winner pocketed more than $500.
Visit www.montossvirginiafestivials.com for information and applications.
In 2011 we found the best Apple Pie in Westmoreland County, the best Coconut Pie in 2012.
If you know someone who makes the best chocolate cake, encourage them to enter this year’s Harvest Fest “Best Chocolate Cake Contest” Winner gets a trophy prize and bragging rights.
This year’s top three prize winners will be on display at the Old Courthouse.
Drop your cake off on Friday by 5 p.m., at Peggy Garland’s Law Office. If you think you would make a great judge you can apply by calling Diane Waltrip 804-493-1206. There will be five judges.