Dogwood Festival Grand Marshal Coach Jeff Highfill.
Dogwood Festival Grand Marshal Bootie Chewning.

Over the years since the first Dogwood Festival in the 1950s, many individuals and even groups have served as Grand Marshals in the Dogwood Parade. Some have been dignitaries, some Hollywood celebrities; some local personalities. There were several governors, some actors and singers, school principals, and William Byrd alumni who went on to acclaimed careers after graduating.

When the Dogwood Committee considered candidates to lead this year’s parade, they zeroed in on Vinton icons, individuals with close ties to Vinton who have changed the face of the town, through “Education and Inspiration.” That’s how they came up with Bootie Chewning and Coach Highfill.

Chewning is perhaps Vinton’s most enthusiastic cheerleader and booster over the course of her life. In addition to a myriad of other accomplishments, she has been a teacher, Vinton’s representative on the Roanoke County School Board, and recently served in one of the most challenging positions– substitute teacher.

Highfill has influenced countless football and soccer players and other…

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