Known to most in the Cannon Falls community, and beyond, this year's Grand Marshal Dick Dalton, will lead the Grand Day Parade on Thursday, July 4.
"I'm humbled and honored," said the life-long Cannon Falls resident. With his wife of 50 years Kathy Dalton, the couple raised three sons: Mike, Mark and Craig.
Dalton, who graduated from Cannon Falls Schools with the Class of 1957, and from Gustavus Adolphus in 1961, is a fourth generation owner/publisher of the family business, the Cannon Falls Beacon newspaper. Earlier this year he was honored by the Minnesota Newspaper Association for his 50 years in the business and inducted into the Half Century Club.
Dalton was a charter member and president of the now defunct Cannon Falls Junior Chamber of Commerce, was an active member of the Commercial Club which is also gone, and is a long-time publicity chair of the Cannon Valley Fair Board. "I've done other things too, like painting, and clean up to get ready for the Fair," he explained.
He has kept his finger on the pulse of the community and of the Fair, sending photographers and reporters out whenever a story broke and when the public needed information, or going himself.
One of his favorite childhood arcade games at the Fair, Dalton remembers, was the Erie Digger, the hawker spouting, "Turn 'em, twist 'em, crank 'em, make 'em go!"
"You had to twist the handle on the front of the machine to make the bucket of this crane sweep across and pick up prizes laying in the corn. They had a cigarette lighter that I really wanted to win," he said.
The Cannon Valley Fair has, of course, changed from its first run 98 years ago. "It's the same fun, but now there is more of an educational flavor than when I was a kid. Now you get more 'informed' entertainers," mused Dalton.
An Honorary Director of the Fair Board, he is one of five given that honor. Dalton explained, "I can still vote and be active. It's a good bunch," he said of the Fair Board.