Kay Beach said her favorite part of Oktemberfest each year is the big parade. This year she'll get a new perspective of the event.
Beach has been selected as the grand marshal for the 2012 Oktemberfest parade, which will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
"It's an honor," Beach said. "I've watched the parade for years and I never imagined myself in that role. It will be fun to see who's watching."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Kay Beach stands on the back deck of her Marshalltown home Friday. Beach has been selected to be grand marshal of the 2012 Oktemberfest parade, which is 10 a.m. Saturday.
Beach is the president of the Marshalltown School Board and widow of Mayor Gene Beach, who died Aug. 4. She has been grateful for the support she has received since her husband's passing, including the stacks of sympathy cards and other kind words.
"Through this whole experience I have come to understand even more than I already did why Gene loved this community, because they have been incredibly kind and supportive to me," Beach said.
Beach is also thankful to the volunteers who put on this festival every year and she said it's indicative of the volunteer spirit throughout the community.
"It's a huge project to put Oktemberfest together," Beach said.
Beach is also a believer in the festival as a way to bring the community together.
"The more we come together and get to know each other, the more we can build a strong community," she said.
Beach has been a member of the school board since 2007 and the president since 2010. At the same time they are honoring Kay, the Oktemberfest board also wanted her grand marshal selection to be a way to honor Gene.
"Gene Beach was a great mayor, was a great icon in our community and he was always community minded," said Marilee Weatherman, president of the Oktemberfest board. "He always participated in Oktemberfest and we'd like to honor him and Kay, who was usually there by his side."
Kay said she liked the idea of being selected as grand marshal as a way to honor her late husband.
"That's what it's all about," she said. "I think it's a wonderful way to honor him."