The Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce has announced that Diane and Marty Growdon will be the Grand Marshals of this year’s Paul Bunyan Mountain and Blues Festival. The event, to be held on Saturday, July 2nd, features live music, a logging show, a parade, a fun-run and much, much more!
According to a biography provided by the Westwood Chamber, “These forty-nine year residents moved to Westwood in 1973 with plans to continue their crafting and pottery business. Marty spent the three years prior to their arrival teaching school and coaching cross-country wrestling and track and field in Redding, so he was familiar with Westwood, having traveled here for wrestling competitions.”
Six weeks after the move, Growdon was approached by Bill Rankin of Westwood High School to see if he still had a teaching credential. Westwood was in need of a teacher for the continuation High School known as Horizon High and so began his decades of dedication to Westwood’s youth.
“Marty taught Horizon High students for eight years. Next his efforts saw a move to teaching at Fletcher Walker Elementary for a few years then on to a few more years at Westwood Alternative High School. After that he was back to teaching Jr and Sr high at Westwood High School.”
“His true calling was always the non-traditional classroom setting, so his next move was to the Community Day School followed by a return to his original Horizon High. He finished up in the school scene as Director of the Westwood Charter School.”
“All those years and changes made Marty Growdon a huge, key factor in the graduation of numerous local students that just weren’t cut out for a traditional schooling environment. Without his tenacity and dedication, the graduation rate in this group would have been drastically reduced.”
“Many believe that the Growdons moved to Westwood for Marty’s teaching job, but truth is they came here and stayed simply because in their heart of hearts this is where they choose to make their home.”
“Beyond the classroom, this champion of the children continued his good works coaching elementary wrestling, high school track and field as well as Little League baseball.”
“Diane Growdon has also been dedicated to improving the lives of our local youth, having been a teacher’s aide in special education at Fletcher Walker Elementary School eventually hiring on full time as a general class room aide. She then moved on to the opportunity room.”
“She also spent time working for Lassen Family Services teaching court ordered parenting classes to those facing challenges raising children throughout Lassen County.”
The couple’s love for children reaches around globe. They added to their natural born children Mark, Dean and Janay with the adoption of Jeremy from an orphanage in Korea.
“Marty and Diane were also selfless foster parents, opening their home to several at risk children in the area over several years. This uniquely nurturing duo eventually also adopted two of their fostered daughters, sisters Tracy and Sherina, adding six total graduates of their own to the alumni of Westwood High School.”
“Not only have the Growdons contributed to local youth, they are community active in several arenas. For more than ten years this artistically talented pair have directed the annual Paul Bunyan Festival arts and crafts fair, bringing in vendors from far and wide.”
“Marty served many years on the Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and they remain members as business owners of the Old Town Mercantile, a wonderful shop of handmade, up-cycled and eclectic home goods and antiques. This CO-OP is a local favorite hosting nine vendors inside the historic Walker Mansion.”
“Westwood’s Calvary Chapel began as a bible study group in the Growdon home and Marty has served as Associate Pastor since 1984 and continues in that role today. Both he and Diane also continue to serve on the worship team and Marty donates even more of his precious time serving all of Lassen County as the Chaplain for local law enforcement.”
The Growdon’s will be honored during Saturday morning’s parade.
The weekend begins Friday night, July 1st, with a downtown street dance featuring one of northeastern California’s premiere cover bands, local favorites Forgery. The dance is free and starts at 8:00p.m. in front of the railroad depot.
Saturday’s fun activities include Breakfast Booths at 8:00a.m. in the Community Center, a Fun Run and the parade, which begins at 10:30a.m. at 3rd and Ash streets.
Festival gates open at 11:00a.m. in Westwood Park, Greenwood and 2nd streets, and will feature a logging show, antiques, crafts, collectibles, a kid’s area, games, and Blue Ox Bingo.
There will also be Pickle Ball on the tennis courts and food booths and more.
Two bands will be providing some awesome blues music for the afternoon: Stephen Kimball from noon to 2:00p.m., and Rowland and Tumblin’ from 2:30 to 4:30.
For more information call 256-2456 or visit westwoodareachamber.com.