The Owensboro People’s Christmas Parade is quickly approaching, and organizers have chosen a total of six grand marshals for the event. We’re highlighting the marshals in a two-part series; this is part two. Marshals were chosen both by a community poll and by the organizing parade council.
The Owensboro People’s Christmas Parade is set for 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, and several members of the community have been working hard to keep one of the city’s oldest traditions alive. This year, there will be five grand marshals and one honorary grand marshal that organizers feel deserve recognition for the work and service they have done for the community.
One of the honorary marshals this year is parade supporter and local business TD’s Tough Decisions. TD Deyton was selected by the committee for the work that he has put into the community.
The business has been very supportive of the community-run parade, providing help and discounts where needed to those involved.
“The committee voted him as an honorary grand marshal as a representation of the small business owners in Owensboro. TD’s has been a staple in this community for 41 years, so we thought the representation was appropriate,” said Erich Stranger, one of the heads of the parade committee.
Another marshal is known around the city for his actions and “vibing” as he calls it.
Tayvis Akpan, or as many know him The Dancing Man, will be dancing in front of the parade ushering the rest of the floats behind him.
“In all honesty, I think it’s a blessing, because not many people like me get that opportunity,” Akpan said.
For him, the ability to be around the city and walk the sidewalks dancing is his way of promoting mental health. He said he appreciates hearing from the community how impactful his day-to-day life is.
His dancing comes out of a place of wanting to spread positivity throughout the city. He said he recently received a phone call from someone asking where he had been since they hadn’t seen him around the city.
“I just told him that, ‘I just be enjoying life, just being me,’ and they said, ‘Well, we enjoy seeing you and you inspire our kids.’” Akpan recalled. “When they started talking about their kids, I started breaking down because it just shows that something is just coming together that I just don’t know what.”
Akpan will be leading the parade Saturday while the other Marshals will be riding toward the front of the line.
The final marshal, recently retired Sheriff Keith Cain, has served the community for almost 50 years in the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office.
In announcing his retirement, Cain declared he needed to spend more of his time with his family. He officially stepped down from his position Dec. 1.
The Christmas parade has been a family tradition for Cain since he rode his horse in the parade when he was younger in the 1960s. He said that he has always anticipated the annual event coming to town.
“The parade is like no other, where the Christmas spirit is contagious, being shared by all experiencing it,” Cain said. “Whether on one of the many beautiful floats, in a vehicle, marching in a band or even on a horse, it’s transformative.”
The full circle moment of being among the grand marshals this year is an honor after all the service he has put forth in the town.
“I’m truly honored to be among the grand marshals this year, and look forward to sharing its magic with all who come out,” Cain said.