Photos by Ken Ketchie.
The OASIS Shriners rolled into town for their annual statewide parade this weekend, which brought countless guests and a large number of American military veterans to the streets of Blowing Rock for a fun Saturday afternoon.
Retired U.S. Army Major General Chuck Swannack took the lead as grand marshal for this year’s parade, which focused on a very important theme: “A Salute to Our Veterans.”
“The parade went extremely well and the weather cooperated beautifully,” said Allison West of Chetola Resort, which sits at the heart of the town and played an integral role in the Shriners’ weekend in Blowing Rock. “We had a great turnout with lots of participation. It was well received, well attended and turned out to be another wonderful day.
“It’s a tradition for the Shriners to do this. Everywhere they have their annual ceremonial, they always hold their Shriners parade. In giving back to the community, they also always give a donation to local organizations. This year, the Watauga High School marching band and JROTC both received donations.”
Don Reid, a Charlotte resident and close friend of the OASIS organization who helps promote their activity, said he was “blown away in Blowing Rock” by the kindness of the community and the success of the weekend.
“The event turned out very well for the Shriners,” said Reid, who was exploring the town for the first time over the weekend. “They were trying to have a ceremonial and a parade that would salute our veterans and also be pleasing to the people of Blowing Rock, and I think they accomplished that.
“The thing that impressed me the most was what a wonderful town Blowing Rock is and how accommodating all of the people were. They acted as if they were really happy to have everybody there and they did their best. I was so impressed with everybody, but if I had to single out one person who blew us away it would be Marcia Greene at Chetola. She worked for weeks and weeks to help us get as many veterans there as we could.”
For more information on the Oasis Shriners, visit oasisshriners.org.
Check out our photos from the parade and you’ll quickly understand the OASIS Shriners bring their annual state parade to Blowing Rock year after year.
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