SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The command chief of the 104th Fighter Wing will be the parade marshal of this year’s Parade of the Big Balloons.
During a ceremony at Tower Square Monday morning, Chief Master Sergeant Maryanne Walts was announced as the Spirit of Springfield’s selection to lead this year’s parade. Walts, who joined the Air Force in 1981, is the highest-ranking enlisted member of the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base.
“I am humbled and honored to represent the 104th Fighter Wing and all uniformed brothers and sisters,” Walts said. “Freedom isn’t free. Every day sacrifices are made by those who protect us.”
The Parade of the Big Balloons is a Springfield tradition that kicks-off the holiday season. It begins at Main and Lyman Streets at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, November 25, and runs down the length of Main Street through downtown and the South End, all the way to Locust Street.
The parade is one of four major annual events put on by the Spirit of Springfield- the others being Bright Nights at Forest Park, the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast, and the Star Spangled Springfield fireworks display.