Ann Matheny

Matheny to be parade grand marshal

Ann Matheny has been named grand marshal of this year’s Magic City Christmas Parade, which will be just one of the many activities in store for the community.

In the 47 years that Ann Dudley Matheny has lived in Middlesboro, she has earned the respect of all.

She is well known for The Magic City, the book she wrote about the history of Middlesboro. Historian Laureate of the Commonwealth, Dr. Thomas D. Clark, said of Matheny’s book, “Ann Dudley Matheny has traced the many strands of local history and woven them into a fascinating tapestry. She has not been squeamish in dealing with facts from the past, including acts of violence and traumas of social change that have been a part of Middlesborough’s history over the past century.”

As a friend recently said, “She’s a keeper of our memories.” She continues to be so today as a director emeritus of the Bell County Historical Society and the driving force behind the publication of the “Gateway,” a quarterly journal of the Historical Society.

Matheny’s concern for the town includes an interest in the voters of Bell County being informed and educated. This led her to join other women in re-establishing the Bell County League of Women Voters. To this day, she can be seen observing the actions of the Middlesboro City Council and hosting forums between local candidates for public office.

“Why is Ann Dudley Matheny the Grand Marshall of our 2017 Christmas parade?” said Sally Smith. “The list of reasons could go on and on, but it is suffice to say that she has cared about the past, present and future of our town. We are pleased to be able to tell her how proud we are.”

The parade and many other activities are slated for Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. The parade will be full of floats, dance teams, marching bands and everyone’s favorite tiny cars driven by the Shriners of Lexington.

Special guests Bill Landry of The Heartland Series, Molly Matney — Miss Kentucky 2017, and of course, Santa Claus himself, are scheduled to appear. In addition to these guests, you can expect to see and take pictures with some of your favorite Disney characters, Mickey and Minnie.

From 2:30-4:30 p.m. folks can gather in Fountain Square to watch ice sculptor Matthew Stoddart. He will use a chainsaw to carve two incredible holiday pieces out of giant blocks of ice.

Shop local, visit the crafting booths, make an ornament with your child (ages 0-12), be amazed by talented magician Brandon Spade, and stop by the food trucks to grab something delicious before the Christmas Tree Lighting on Fountain Square at 5 p.m. Be sure to save some room for popcorn and hot chocolate because the fun will just be getting started, organizers say.

After enjoying Christmas carols and the lighting of the Christmas tree, join the community at the Levitt Lot at 6:30 p.m. for a viewing of the movie The Polar Express. Bring your chairs, blankets, your family and friends, and snuggle up with some tasty hot chocolate for an evening that will top off the day’s events and memories that will last a lifetime.