By Kathryn Rice

The Graham Street Fair has named Graham native, Michelle Brown, as the “Field of Dreams” parade grand marshal.

The Graham Street Fair is August 25, 26 and 27 with the parade starting at 2 pm, Saturday.

Brown was born and raised on a farm east of Graham until 1975, when the family moved to town to live in her grandmother’s house which was bought by her father.

“Now there are very few people who have been here all of their lives,” Brown said. “I’m one of them.”

Her parents, Manford Lavon and Kathleen Brown, bought Graham Hardware in 1966. Brown worked there and became the sole proprietor sometime in the 90s. Even with a broken leg in 2021, Brown has kept the doors of Graham Hardware open. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Graham’s Main Street.

Her involvement with the Graham Street Fair began after her dad started selling Watkins Products in 1962. He wanted to display the products and sell them at the fair. To accomplish this, he built a Watkins ‘shack’ which he placed on a lowboy. Her mother, as a Lyle Club member, helped with the club’s supper served at it. Her dad, as a Mason, helped with its pancake suppers.

With this background, Brown’s involvement with the fair was a foregone conclusion. She was asked and served as fair board secretary for 30 years beginning in the 1970s. She has coordinated the children’s pet show since 1989.

Brown enjoyed the renewed interest in the street fair with the 1989 sesquicentennial year. It was the year the fair board started the fair books for schedules and advertisements.

Another Graham event Brown has been involved in has been the Graham Community Betterment’s Halloween Treat night. Community Betterment started a bonfire and wienie roast to curb vandalism. It has evolved into its current rendition.

Brown also organizes the Arbor Day program in the spring. Held in the city park, the Scouts tell what they do during the year, a tree is usually planted, although in 2017 rose bushes were planted by the memorial in the park. There is normally a program and park beautification is done and/or discussed.

She sells historical books at the Community Betterment Memorial Day Salad Luncheon.

“It’s nice for families to come to the salad luncheon while visiting the cemeteries,” Brown said.

“We have a really good town,” Brown said. “Our country people are the people who keep us strong. We have a strong rural presence.

“I consider it an honor to be grand marshal, not everyone is asked to do this,” she continued. “Anybody asked to be grand marshal should do it. It’s an honor.”