(JUDAH) -The selection committee charged with designating a grand marshal for Saturday's 2013 Judah Heritage Festival opted for a neighborhood innkeeper. And ... a barber, cattle rancher, merchant, musician, and wily wheeler-dealer -- all wrapped into one.
"Merlin Root and his wife Kathryn are our grand marshal this year," said Steve Jones of Johnny Junxions. "They have owned -- and operated -- Crest Motel for more than 50 years. They also ran the country store here in Judah for many years. The Roots have made a lifelong commitment to serving the people and families of Lawrence County."
Besides operating the motel and country store (lost to a fire a few years ago), Merlin has raised cattle on a nearby farm, cut hair for more than 30 years and is always willing to share a tune while strumming on one of his many vintage guitars.
This marks the seventh year for the community festival, organized by the Judah Heritage Group. Ritter said money raised from this weekend's events will go toward projects at the new Judah Park.
Saturday's full day of events starts at 8 a.m. with a 5K jog, poker run, silent auction, corn hole tourney and preliminary rounds of the Judah Idol competition prior to the parade, which will begin at 3 p.m. The Idol finals are set for 5 p.m., then Danny & Rich open for the Jason Sturgeon concert, which is set for 8:45 p.m.
The fest is capped by an elaborate fireworks display, tentatively slated for 10:15 p.m.
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