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Former Mummer is Funfest Grand Marshal

Curtis “Turk” Mattern has been in his share of parades in his 87 years. And this year, he will lead one as the Grand Marshal of the Funfest Parade.
Curtis “Turk” Mattern has been in his share of parades in his 87 years.  And this year, he will lead one as the Grand Marshal of the Funfest Parade.  Mattern, who has been appearing as a solo entrant in Hazleton’s Funfest Parade for nearly a decade, was given the distinction by the Funfest Committee, and will lead the Parade Sunday, September 8. 
“Mr. Mattern has had a very positive impact on people as he rides in the Funfest Parade,” said Funfest Public Relations Coordinator Julie Ferry. “His obvious love of the event and his enthusiasm make him a crowd favorite, so the Committee was unanimous in their vote to give him this honor.”
Mattern lives at Fritzingertown Senior Living Community, and each year decorates his motorized wheelchair with mummers-style feathers. But his involvement in the parade goes back many years.  A musician since grade school, Mattern played with the D.A. Harman and Hazleton High School bands, as well as Jolly Jack Robel’s Polka band in his youth. But he loved string band music, and in 1987, joined the Keystone Mummers’ String Band from Pottsville.  He performed with the band on many occasions, but his favorite was the annual Funfest Parade. In later years, when he needed a scooter to get around, band members outfitted his wheelchair with feathers and he led the band in their performances until the group disbanded in 2002. 
“Mr. Mattern is the perfect representative for Funfest.  He is joyful in his enthusiasm, he loves music, and he loves his community,” Ferry said.  “It is our pleasure to give him the honor of leading our parade.”
Although most grand marshals ride in a special vehicle at the Parade’s beginning, Mattern will once again be in his scooter.  In keeping with this year’s Funfest theme, “A Totally 80s Weekend,” Mattern will be dressed as a “senior rocker.”  “Last year, Mr. Mattern won a Funfest trophy for decorating his wheelchair and trailer for our Christmas theme. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with for this year,” Ferry said.  Mattern’s daughter will drive a car behind him with signage identifying him as grand marshal.  
Mattern was born in Tower City, and moved to the Hazleton Area with his family in 1940.  He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and worked for many years at Dorr-Oliver in Hazleton while raising his 2 children with his wife, the late Ruth Mattern.  He has five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.
The Funfest Parade kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday near Citizen’s Bank in West Hazleton, and moves east into the Funfest Area before ending at North Pine Street.  The Parade will also feature Balloons sponsored by Service Electric Cablevision, floats, and various bands and marching units. 

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