When the Newman Fall Festival parade starts to wind through the streets of downtown Newman, it will be a pair of familiar faces for many Newman residents that will be leading the fanfare.
Van and Vicki Felber were selected to serve as the grand marshals for the parade. Van recently retired after 36 years as a kindergarten teacher with the Newman Crows Landing Unified School District, while Vicki continues to work as an administrative secretary with the District.
“We were overwhelmed,” Van said of learning that he and his wife had been selected to serve as grand marshals for the long-standing Newman parade. “It is such an honor. This year they said they got community input about who it should be, so that made it even extra special because we were chosen by the community.”
“The public sees and knows who has a positive influence in our community and we appreciated their input,” said Newman Fall Festival chair Christine Eddington. “Van and Vicki Felber both work for the NCLUSD and have given their time to the children of our town. Van retired this year after 36 years as a kindergarten teacher. The NFF honors them for their dedication and overall love for the children of our community.”
Van and Vicki Felber were high school sweethearts and even when he went off to college, he continued to comeback to Newman to visit Vicki. They have been married for 44 years and have four children, three of whom are math teachers for the District and one who is a business owner.
A career in education was not the immediate career path for Van. After graduating from college he worked on a farm with his father-in-law.
“I never thought in a million years that I’d be in education, it was never a thought,” Van said. “Back when we moved to Newman after going to college, I was farming with my father-in-law and in the wintertime I was able to have extra time after I serviced all the equipment. My father-in-law says ‘why don’t you substitute teach so you can keep busy. And from the moment I walked into that classroom, I knew that was going to be it. So I went back to school and got my teaching credential.”
The chance to see some of the people that he has taught over the years is what has Van the most excited about his grand marshal duties.
“The kids were my life for the last 36 years and they’ve sort of been like a family to me,” Van said. “I’ve gotten to know them and their families and watched them grow up, so I think it will be great to see all those faces again.”
The parade is set for 11 a.m. Sept. 5.