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William’s Parade brings scores out of lockdown

That’s Mayor Charlie Sellers and wife Deatra in the lead car of a processional that lasted some 30 minutes. Social distancing at its finest.

By David Rogers. April 4, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Some were simple, passing by Town Hall with a sympathetic wave from driver and passengers. Some were elaborately decorated, adorned with balloons, ribbons, streamers and colorful signs. It was billed as “William’s Parade,” but in so many ways it was much more — especially given the circumstances.

COVER IMAGE: William Greene III waves to a well-wisher. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.

SLIDESHOW AT BOTTOM

They kept coming and coming and coming. There were no teeming throngs of people lining Main Street like on the 4th of July or the Saturday after Thanksgiving, not this year. Nonetheless, the passing of Blowing Rock resident Regina Greene Pelsmaeker, a Governor’s “stay at home” order, and the compassion of the High Country community more than likely combined to break all Blowing Rock parade records for the number of “entries.”

A child’s head poked through the moon roof, tiny hands clutching tightly to a multi-colored sign with rainbows and hearts.

Blowing Rock News stopped counting at 125, but there were even more vehicles of every size, age, make and description that kept coming. Shouts of “We love you William,” “So sorry,” and “Stay strong” came through almost every car and truck window. Occasionally, a child’s head poked through a “moonroof,” tiny hands clutching tightly to a multi-colored sign with rainbows or hearts.

Timmy Williams, left, William Greene III (foreground) and Jerry Absher (seated, right) waved to the parade participants as they drove by.
ZAP Endurance founder Zika Rea (right), husband “Coach Pete” (driving) and young uns were among the many parade well-wishers with colorful messaging.

Several signs referenced “6th grade” love, support, prayers, and best wishes. Biblical verses from both the Old and New Testaments offered comfort and praise.

There were familiar faces, as well as so many that we did not recognize. According to event organizers “Amber” and “Kristen,” a lot of students from Parkway School and the dancing community were expected. Addison Rudicile of Banner Elk and Rolling Dream Productions, photographer and videographer, was shooting for the family with a goal of compiling stills as well as video clips into a keepsake.

The 6th grade is here for you, William. We love you.

Regina Greene Pelsmaeker’s step-father Jerry Absher waves to a passer-by.

Many cars had dancing shoes dangling from a side-view mirror or through a window, acknowledging William Greene III’s passion for dancing and performance teams with which he has participated. Snoopy showed up on a couple of signs, as did hints of Tweetsie Railroad.

About two-thirds of the way through, a motorcycle club paid homage to the Greene family, all standing in front of Town Hall, standing close to the plaque commemorating the service (and loss) of William Greene, former Blowing Rock Chief of Police who was killed in the line of duty several years ago.

“I’ve had my ups and downs the past few days,” young William admitted to Blowing Rock News when the Blowing Rock Fire Department’s Engine 1 had passed by, signaling the end of the parade, “but I am doing alright. This show of support by the community for our family, the love, it is just amazing.”

Community and compassion: those were certainly the themes for the day. Kudos to town officials for granting permission for the event.

SLIDESHOW by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

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