Watson, 77, moved to Cedar Springs in 1963. He was raised in Virginia, and served in the military in North Carolina before moving here. He and his wife, Florence, have been married 54 years and raised five children: Jedonne, Joseph Jr., Charlie, Kelli and Merri. All graduated from Cedar Springs High School.
“The Festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Mr. Watson’s outstanding dedication to the entire Cedar Springs community,” said Michele Tracy-Andres, President of the Festival. “His outstanding community service in several organizations is very impressive and exactly what we look for in a Red Flannel Festival Grand Marshal. It’s very obvious Joe loves Cedar Springs and especially the Red Flannel Festival! The Red Flannel Town is a better place because of Joe’s involvement.”
Watson has been a leader in the community, volunteering his time to several organizations coaching youth sports and was one of the founding members of the Cedar Springs Athletic Association (created for youth athletics) prior to the formation of the Athletic Boosters. He supported the Festival for several years with his dedicated service as a Keystone Kop and Grand Parade Organizer.
Watson said he was excited to serve and honored to be chosen. “I think it’s a nice gesture,” he remarked. “I was very surprised.”
Mr. Watson and his wife Florence will reign over the two weekends of the 15th oldest Festival in the state of Michigan, sharing the Red Flannel warmth of our community to visitors and residents.