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Festival names Kirkland as Grand Marshal

Mary Kirkland - kirk Boxleitner
Mary Kirkland
— image credit: kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Mary Kirkland has been selected as the parade grand marshal for the 2009 Marysville Strawberry Festival, and it’s perhaps not an exaggeration to say that no one is more surprised than her.

“When Carol Kapua contacted me to let me know, I was literally speechless,” said Kirkland, owner of Hilton Pharmacy on Third Street. “I didn’t know what to say and I was totally not expecting it. I feel humbled, honored and privileged.”

Although Kirkland was unsure why she was chosen as this year’s parade grand marshal, Kapua pointed to Kirkland’s lifelong involvement in the local community, which Kirkland herself acknowledged.

“I’ve lived in Marysville my entire life, and I’ve either attended or participated in the parade every one of those years, dating back to when I was a toddler,” said Kirkland, who has run the Hilton Pharmacy since 1984, and worked there since 1969. “There were always Hilton family parties for the parade on State Avenue when I was a youngster, and when I was in grade school, I entered the Kiddies’ Parade. In junior high and high school, I was part of the roller rink float. As long as I’ve been around, the parade has always been here, and I’ve always been a part of it and supporting it. It’s part of Marysville’s identity.”

“Mary has always been so active in the community and given so much to it that we thought it would be nice for the community to give back to her,” said Kapua, co-director of the parade. “Her family has been a staple of this community from way back, and she’s been so good to everybody in the community. She is so thorough and caring with everything that she does.”

Kirkland tends to shy away from the spotlight, but when she rides in the parade this year, she’ll be doing so on behalf of “my whole pioneer family,” dating back to her English immigrant great-grandfather, who settled in Marysville and raised 11 children here with his wife. Of those 11, Kirkland’s grandfather was one of six who started businesses in Marysville. Even Kirkland’s mother served for 12 years as the city of Marysville treasurer, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.

“I’m proud to be part of that legacy,” Kirkland said.

“We’ve already gotten so much feedback from people who have said that Mary is such a great choice,” Kapua said. “We agreed on her unanimously. I feel great that everybody knows her. She’s still out there in the community, and she’s still doing great stuff.”

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