By Ed Harris
Leonard Marcheselle has volunteered and worked at the Apple Harvest Festival in various background roles since its inception.
This year, he steps to the forefront, as the parade grand marshal.
“We always try to look for someone that has made a contribution to the festival and the community,” said Apple Harvest Supervisory Committee Co-Chairman Chris Palmieri. Palmieri said Marcheselle fits this criteria and then some.
Marcheselle has coordinated the bed races during the festival and has helped out with the Kiwanis and Elks Clubs through the years. In addition, he has served on numerous civic groups in town, including the Town Council, Board of Finance and Board of Education.
His community work has earned him several awards, including the Gold Medal award from UNICO, the Person of the Year honor from the Southington YMCA and the public service award from the Southington Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a great honor,” Marcheselle said. “I’ve been working with the Apple Harvest Festival for a good number of years.”
Marcheselle, along with other members of the Kiwanis Club, has worked the festival since day one.
Back in those days, the Kiwanis had a booth that sold soda and pretzels. The Kiwanis introduced the bed races to the festival about 20 years ago, and, as they say, the rest is history.
The bed races became a staple of the Apple Harvest Festival and have run almost every year since they were introduced. The races have been on a hiatus for a few years, but return this year.
Mary DeCroce, a former parade grand marshal herself, will oversee the bed races this year, as Marcheselle attends to his marshal duties.
“We’ve had a lot of good beds and a lot of loyal people that come out every year,” Marcheselle said of the races, noting that there have been no injuries, though there was a close call or two over the years. “The bed race is a lot of fun.”
This year marks the 46th annual Apple Harvest Festival, which runs Oct. 3-5 and October 10-12. The parade is Sunday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m.
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By Ed Harris