CARTHAGE, Mo. — Helen Hill has been named as the grand marshal of the 53rd annual Maple Leaf Festival by the event's committee, the Carthage Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday.

"I am very honored to be asked, and I am looking forward to coming back home to visit Carthage and see friends and family,” Hill said in a statement after she was given the news.

Hill, who formerly served as the advertising manager at The Carthage Press when the Maple Leaf Festival was first being planned, played a key role in its creation and promotion, according to nomination forms submitted by the public.

“Helen was a huge creative force and worked tirelessly to help form committees and promote the festival and the various events,” a nomination form stated. “She was present at every meeting and every event, constantly promoting, and delivering ideas and spreading her boundless enthusiasm even after working a full day.”

One of the nominations dubbed her as “the last living founder of the hugely successful Maple Leaf Festival.” Alice Chorum, Maple Leaf co-chairwoman, said that Hill's history fits perfectly with this year’s festival theme, “Legacy of Maple Leaf.”

“Every year we receive so many nominations of beloved and integral community members and contributors to the history of our beautiful city and Maple Leaf history,” Chorum said in a statement.

This year’s festival has a variety of activities and events running throughout October, including a 5K run, pageants, a dog show, chili cook-off, Music Under the Maples, art and music events, and car and tractor shows. The Maple Leaf Parade is slated for 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct, 19.

Full event details can be found at www.CarthageMapleLeaf.com or by picking up a brochure at the chamber office, 402 S. Garrison, and other locations throughout the area.

For more information, contact the chamber's Neely Myers at 417-358-2373 or nmyers@carthagechamber.com.

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