Long, Dorathy to lead festival parade
Neither have ever been to the Maple Leaf Festival, but come Saturday morning they will be riding front and center for the thousands of visitors.
Baker University President Pat Long and Baldwin School District Supt. Paul Dorathy are the Grand Marshals for the 49th-annual festival parade.
"I've never experienced Maple Leaf," Long said. "I've heard about it and heard about it, but I've never been here for it. I'm not sure what to expect. I think it will be fun."
Both Long and Dorathy are excited to take part in their first Maple Leaf, despite hearing about the thousands of visitors and lack of parking.
"I've never been to the Maple Leaf, but my wife and I are very excited about it," Dorathy said. "I am interested to see how it all comes together. It sounds to me like it's a tremendous event with a large crowd. I have heard there are lots of crafts and activities and lots of good foods."
When Long was interviewing with Baker last year, many people she talked to associated Baldwin City with the MLF. Since then, she has been warned about the troubles of parking.
"I understand it's an experience," Long said. "I hear the parking is a challenge. I think it will be a fun time."
In July, Long and Dorathy took over their positions after the former leaders retired. Long replaced Dan Lambert, who led Baker for 19 years, while Dorathy took over for James White, who retired after seven years at the helm.
Since the 2006 parade theme is "Discover New Pathways," the Maple Leaf Festival committee thought the new educational leaders would be fitting for the Grand Marshals.
"They were new to town and they will help us discover new pathways," said Sheri Caldwell, MLF parade chairman. "They are leading us down a new pathway."
Dorathy said he was honored to be one of the Grand Marshals.
"They asked me if I wanted to be co-grand marshal with the new president and, of course, I was very pleased that they would ask me to do that," Dorathy said. "I was very honored to be asked."
Long thought it was very nice of the committee to ask them to lead the MLF parade.
"It's a wonderful welcoming gesture to us as the new educational leaders in town," Long said. "I really appreciate being asked. I'm honored."
Both are ready for the parade that begins at 11 a.m.
"I'm ready and I think it will go well," Dorathy said. "I think it will be fun and I hope we have good weather for it."
"I'm looking forward to the parade," Long said. "I hope it will be a beautiful, crisp day."