DALTON, OH – The Dalton Holidays Festival planning committee is proud to announce its 2013 Parade Grand Marshal: Shawn Champer. A lifelong resident of Wayne County and graduate of Dalton High School, his parents lived locally as well and have been good examples to him of supporting the community. Shawn’s mother was a participant in the festival craft show and a judge for the business and residential lighting contests. Shawn’s father, owner of Buckeye Barns, was gracious enough over the years to let some of his workers, including Shawn and one of the early leaders of the festival, Richard Eash, help with the festival and parade preparations during work time. Shawn has helped with setting up the craft show, but is most known for his time over the years for his integral role in developing, organizing, and implementing the holidays festival downtown parade. During his time managing the parade, he saw the registrants grow to well over 100 entries. He was able to help the festival cultivate relationships with those who returned to the parade multiple years, as well as accommodate new entries as well. He also was instrumental in adapting the parade to more efficient methods, as technology allowed for the use of walky talkies and 4-wheelers, for instance. In regards to his involvement with the Dalton Holidays Festival, Shawn reflects that he “never saw the parade, but knew it like the back of his hand”; he invested so much energy in making it a great experience for everyone involved, but has never been able to watch it himself. This is just one example of how his sacrifices to the local community have earned him the honor of 2013 Grand Marshal.
Shawn and his wife, Shannon, and their 3 kids now live in Orrville. He acknowledges that he would not have been able to successfully organize the festival parade without his family’s help. Shawn’s brother, Jay, and his wife, Megan, have been instrumental with the parade as well. Shawn worked at Buckeye Barns from 1991 to 2012, working a variety of jobs including sales, scheduling, installation, building gym sets. He now owns his business in Smithville, Classic Custom Barns. When Shawn stepped away from his role with the Dalton Holidays Festival parade, he did so with a hope to spend more time with his family.
Shawn says that his favorite thing about Dalton is the small town atmosphere and the people and families that he has grown up with through the years. When nominated as the 2013 Grand Marshal, Shawn said his initial thought was “Surely there must be someone else in town more worthy than me.” However, he humbly accepted the honor, with the hope that more people will be inspired to get involved in the festival events and keep a strong connection in the local community. The Dalton Holidays Festival is thankful for the hard work and support from Shawn and his family over the years.