The Alexander County Christmas Parade is scheduled for the first Saturday in December, which is Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. This year’s parade is the 74th annual opening of the holiday season in Alexander County. There are numerous holiday observances throughout the month of December, and the annual Christmas Parade has long served as the official kick-off to the holiday season. This year will prove to be no exception. The 2021 version of the Christmas Parade is being sponsored by the Alexander County Government.
“The Parade Committee is very pleased to congratulate this year’s Grand Marshal Coy Reese on this honor for his committed service to Alexander County and beyond!” said Dwaine Coley, parade coordinator. “The Grand Marshal for the 74th Annual Alexander County Christmas Parade has tirelessly served our country and our county with honor and distinction. The Parade Committee has selected a theme for this year’s parade of ‘Home Town Heroes’ for our community to celebrate! There are numerous ‘Heroes’ who have helped our County through this pandemic. There are doctors, nurses, health care professionals, and many more! Some of the ‘Heroes’ that may be overlooked are those who have helped keep food on our tables! These include farmers, grocery store employees, butchers, stockers, transporters of the goods and so many more!”
Coy Reese’s love of farming and dairy cows began when his father was given a registered Jersey dairy cow in 1943. And the “rest of the story” has been unfolding ever since then. In 1970, Coy began management of the family’s dairy farm and, until October of 2020, he had been milking, feeding and caring for a large herd of registered Jersey cattle. He and his wife, Wanda, decided last year to sell their herd to a farm in New York, and they watched as the trailers of cattle left for their new home and owners.
Coy’s work has included five decades of farming. He enjoyed being his own boss and developing a herd that he had bred each calf and watched them grow. Life was good – he worked for himself and enjoyed working with nature. A large portion of the herd originated from that first cow that started the farm. The original cow’s genes have been shared with farms in the United States as well as farms in Ecuador, Trinidad, Chile, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Turkey. Coy and Wanda would love to visit some of these farms where this first cow’s genes are living and thriving.
The dairy industry is a seven-day-a-week job. Time-off is almost non-existent. The business (the farm) experiences the ups and downs of business. Milk prices increase and drop and the farm must continue moving forward. Sadly, the dairy industry has seen sharp declines in the past few years.
Our Grand Marshal, Coy Reese is 77 years young and still enjoys maintaining a small herd of cows. He has distinguished himself having served on numerous boards and committees in Alexander County and beyond. He has served as president of the Alexander County Planning and Zoning committee, the Farmland Preservation board, the NC Jersey Breeders Association, the Genex board and the SUDIA board. He is active with the volunteer work of Thrivent Financial. Through the years he has encouraged visits to the farm by the third graders in the county to teach them about farming and where our food comes from.
He has always been an active member of St. Luke Lutheran Church. One of those persons nominating him stated, “… he ALWAYS has time to stop farming to play for a bit with his 2 granddaughters, Isabela, age 8, and Clara, age 6. He is the best PawPaw, and even after a long, hard day at the barn, he will still get in the floor and play with them! His servant heart is what makes him a good representative for this town as the Grand Marshal. He would give you the shirt off of his back, and I think that spirit is why we all love this small town.”
Coy has been married to his wife Wanda 40 years. (They met on a blind date on Valentine’s Day in 1981, had three dates and decided to get married.) They have 2 daughters, Candace and Joy and 2 granddaughters. Candace is married to Adam Haithcox and they have 2 daughters, Isabela and Clara. Joy is married to Clay Barber.
“Congratulations to Coy Reese, the 2021 Grand Marshal of the 74th Annual Alexander County Christmas Parade!” said Coley.
This year’s parade will feature individuals and groups that give of themselves to the community on a daily basis! The public is urged, encouraged, asked to come prepared to give to the community through a “give back” component. The conclusion of the parade will provide the community with a chance to GIVE BACK – to shower the food pantries across the County with canned goods and non-perishable items.
“The Alexander Central FFA will collect food along the parade route. This food will be shared with local food pantries. Please bring canned goods to share. Students will also carry boxes for those wishing to make monetary donations,” Coley concluded.
For parade lineup and parade route information, click here to visit https://alexandercountync.gov/parade/.