Brakefields to lead Strawberry Festival parade

When the Strawberry Festival parade rolls through downtown Leonard on Saturday, July 16, it will be led by Addison Township Trustee Ed Brakefield and his wife Catherine.

Ed and Catherine Brakefield will serve as the grand marshals for this year's Strawberry Festival parade July 16 in downtown Leonard. Photo provided.
Ed and Catherine Brakefield will serve as the grand marshals for this year’s Strawberry Festival parade July 16 in downtown Leonard. Photo provided.

The pair was selected to serve as parade grand marshals for the 64th annual Strawberry Festival.

Ed has served on the Addison Township Board for 20 years and will be retiring later this year.

“It’s an honor,” said Ed with a chuckle. “I didn’t know what people did to get to be grand marshal. I try to be a good guy and that’s about it.”

Catherine, author of the award-winning Christian romance novel, “Wilted Dandelions,” agreed with this sentiment.

“It’s quite an honor, for sure,” she said. “It’s a very prestigious event in Leonard. It kind of brings everyone together. People that have moved away will come back and they have big family reunions. I also like the old-fashioned flavor of the event.”

According to Festival Comittee Member Phyllis Roe, the Brakefields were selected because of their consistent involvement with the township.

“He has been (a) trustee on the township (board) for many, many years and they’ve both done a lot for the community,” Roe said. “I thought since he’s not running again for trustee, we should honor him for his work with the community.”

Ed, whose term will end in November, has served on the township board since 1996. He listed the piping of natural gas into Addison Township as one of his proudest achievements while serving on the board.

Back in 2013, the Brakefields and Supervisor Bruce Pearson put together a team to bring natural gas to the rural township. The team went door-to-door and made phone calls to residents in order to meet the 174 completed applications (50 percent participation) required by Consumers Energy for gas to be installed. “That’s the best highlight anyone could ever have (in their career),” he said.

Ed said there is plenty to look forward to at this year’s upcoming Strawberry Festival.

“Everyone will just have a blast. It’s people’s day that day, so everyone will have a wonderful time,” he said.

The festival is scheduled to start with a 5/10K run/walk at 7 a.m. followed by a Pancake Breakfast at Leonard United Methodist Church.

Other festival activities include cook-offs, train rides and inflatables for kids, a craft show and car show. Strawberry sundaes will also be served throughout the day at the old fire hall next door to Rowland Hall.

The Strawberry Festival will wrap up with a country music performance by Bernadette Kathryn & Band at 5 p.m., followed by a street dance with Totally, a 1980s new wave, pop and rock band, starting at 7 p.m.

For a full list of the day’s events, please visit


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