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Red Flannel Festival names 2020 Grand Marshal

Red Flannel Festival names 2020 Grand Marshal

Former RF Queen named Grand Marshal

By Judy Reed

Cindy Patin has been named the 2020 Grand Marshal for the 81st Red Flannel Festival. Courtesy photo.

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors have proudly named area resident and longtime community supporter Cindy Patin as the 2020 Grand Marshal for the 81st annual celebration, to be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020.  

“The festival is extremely proud and thankful for the many years of Cindy’s outstanding dedication to the Cedar Springs community and her dedication to the Red Flannel Festival,” said Nancy Deyman, president of the festival. 

Cindy started co-directing the queen’s pageant in the spring of 2002 until 2014. In 2014, Cindy took on the role of queen director, which coordinates the pageant director, scholarship committee and the queen chaperone.  She helped with the queen’s scholarship committee from 2002 until 2019, serving as the chair/coordinator for several years.

Cindy (Wilcome) Patin as the 1989 Red Flannel Queen.

“Cindy was also the 1989 red flannel queen (Cynthia Wilcome), and it is obvious Cindy loves the Red Flannel town and especially the Red Flannel Festival!” remarked Deyman. 

The Post asked Cindy how she felt about being chosen to represent the RFF. “Well, at first I was very shocked and then I cried,” she said. “It is such an honor to be considered for the role of Grand Marshal. As Red Flannel event coordinators, we waited each year with great anticipation for the announcement from the board as to who was selected.  The people who have been in this role before have been an inspiration, for the selfless giving of their time and talents.  You don’t volunteer for any position for the recognition; you volunteer because of the passion and interest you have in the organization, to help it succeed and grow, and make an influence in a positive way.  This is true especially for the Red Flannel Festival, which is entirely volunteer based, and has been for all these years.”  

She noted, however, that it really is an honor shared with her family. Cindy married her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two young adult sons–Cameron is 21 and Nolan will be 19 this month. 

“It was a team effort on the part of my family to be able to volunteer for the Festival for 18 years—my immediate family, especially, but also my extended family—my mom, my siblings, my in-laws, Jeff’s siblings, Jeff’s aunts, friends—all were asked to help along the way…and they never said no! They’ve moved things with their trucks, made dresses and re-built floats, donated garage space, served on the interview committees, etc.  They love the Red Flannel Festival and cherish its heritage, as much as I do!” she explained.

What does being a part of the Red Flannel Festival mean to Cindy?

“Being involved in the RF Festival means a great deal to me, as we are contributing to the continued success of an event that began when things were pretty gloomy (1939) as a way to lift people’s spirits and has remained stable ever since.  Now it is a matter of continuing that legacy.  The Red Flannel Queen Pageant, specifically, is very special, as it is a way to help teach and mentor young women in a positive way, that literally can change their lives (communication and interviewing skills, scholarship awards, etc.),” she remarked.

But Red Flannel is not the only thing Cindy has been involved in.

“I’m at a different season of my life, right now. It was a very busy time—almost a blur—during my years with the Festival. We were raising our sons, Jeff was teaching and coaching (high school and college basketball), we were homeschooling (some of the time), volunteering for the boys’ school, sport teams, and theatre/haunt activities (Nolan – CS Museum), volunteering at Church (choir, gardening, leading study groups), and we were working with our business leader group as Shaklee Corporation Sales Leaders, in the health and wellness field. (Our kids are third generation Shaklee users.)  I’m so thankful for the flexibility of our business, and for the great clients and leaders we work with, that allowed us, as a family, to be able to engage in all those activities and roles. Presently, I’m still running our business, and serving on the Board of Education at Creative Technologies Academy, volunteering at our Church, writing for the Bugle and taking care of all the projects at home we set aside through the years.”

Why did Cindy and Jeff choose to be involved in so many different activities?  

“We chose to be involved in all those activities, as a witness to our sons, that our lives are meant to be spent helping and serving others,” she explained.  

Congratulations to Cindy, who will reign this year at the RF Festival’s 81st annual celebration, 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!

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