Fannie Watson to serve as Grand Marshal of Santa's Christmas Parade

Fannie Watson has been tapped to serve as grand marshal for the 2019 Santa's Christmas Parade.

The longtime Shelby County educator and civic activist received a personal invitation from Santa Claus on Monday morning in a ceremony held at the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce office. The parade is scheduled to kickoff at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 in downtown Center.

She received a personal invitation to perform the ceremonial duties from Santa Claus himself Monday at the chamber office.

Watson was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at the organization's annual banquet on Nov. 7.

"I was totally surprised," Watson said of the honor.

The 2018 honoree, Jheri-Lynn McSwain, introduced Watson at the banquet and presented her with the award.

She called Watson, who was born during the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt, a person who would grow up to become a “gracious, unassuming and often times anonymous mover and shaker” in Shelby County.

“She also shares the same philosophy of life with John Wesley who said 'Do all the good you can, by all the means you can and all the ways you can and all the places that you can and all the times you can, to all the people you can and as long as ever you can,'” McSwain said. “What a wonderful philosophy to live by.”

She said Watson was not the type of person to seek the spotlight for herself.

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