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Introducing the 2017 Parade Grand Marshal: Dean Morehouse

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. - Meet the Elkhart County 4H Fair’s 2017 parade grand marshal—Dean Morehouse.

Every year, the current fair board president gets to choose the parade grand marshal.

He or she is usually someone who has been active in the farming, fair, and 4H community for years.

This year’s president says Morehouse certainly reflects that.

Dean Morehouse is a fourth generation farmer who joined the fair board about three decades ago, because all four of his children were involved in 4H.

On Sunday, he and three more generations of his family will be leading the parade to the grandstand

“My dad’s a man of few words, but when he does speak, everybody listens to him,” said Morehouse’s eldest son, Michael Morehouse.

“An important part of the farm really is the fair, service to others,” said Dean Morehouse.

That philosophy helped to earn 31-year-fair-board veteran Dean Morehouse the honor of leading the 2017 parade as grand marshal.

“I knew long before I was ever appointed as president if I ever had that accomplishment under my belt, Dean Morehouse was going to be my parade grand marshal,” said the 2017 Fair Board President, Jill Garris.

“Well, I was happy about it. It’s an honor,” said Morehouse.

While Jill Garris and Dean Morehouse serve the fair together, their bond goes beyond the board.

“I call her my adopted daughter,” said Morehouse.

“Following the passing of my father in 1986, I adopted Dean Morehouse as my adopted father,” said Garris.

“Then, she kind of turned to me for some guidance. I don’t know whether I helped her or not,” said Morehouse.

“Dean is a joker and a very humble amazing man, and I just can’t even express what he means to me and the contributions that he’s made to our community and his town and the farming industry,” said Garris.

Still, she said she could list at least a few of his accomplishments.

“He has been a member of the New Paris Lions club for over 50 years. He’s served on our fair board for over 30 years. He’s been inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame for fairs and festivals and has just served countless number of hours with his church and other civic organizations. He was a volunteer firefighter for many, many years, and really believes in giving back to the area that has given so much to him,” said Garris.

“Well, I never got into that too much. I just a soon do it and not get too much recognition out of it. Do it in the quiet and the background,” said Morehouse.

While Dean doesn’t like celebrating himself, he certainly likes bragging about the fair.

“The fair means a lot to Dad, I mean there’s not a day goes by, 365 days a year that he doesn’t say something about the fair, something good that’s happening. Something that he sees that could be changed,” said Michael Morehouse.

We got a good fair. Everybody’s proud of it. People come in and help us and support us. It’s a great feeling,” said his dad.

A great feeling—his adopted daughter—hopes he gets out of being grand marshal.

“He is setting off and he is the king for the day,” said Garris.

“I’m going to ride in one of my tractors. My oldest son’s going to drive it, and we got a John Deere wagon painted green and yellow, and the grandkids and the great grandkids are going to ride in the wagon, and her theme is for generations to come, so there’s two more generations in the wagon that become 4H members,” said Dean.

“It’s pretty special,” he said.

The parade starts on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Linway Plaza.

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