Dave, Kelly Mattison chosen as Cheese Fest parade marshals
Since moving back to Blair in 1993, Dave Mattison and his wife Kelly have been to every event of the annual Blair Cheese Fest.
“Dave and I have been married 37 years, I don’t know of a Cheese Fest that we’ve missed,” Kelly said.
The couple is being honored for that dedication this year and will participate in the annual event from a new perspective — the Mattison’s have been chosen as the 2023 Cheese Fest parade marshals.
Dave currently serves as president of the Cheese Fest board, which he has been involved with since 1995. He was born and raised in Blair and worked for the U.S. Postal Service before retiring five years ago.
Both Dave and Kelly are volunteers at their churches and have been involved in other community enrichment programs. They raised their three children, Mackenzie, Andrea and Connor, in Blair and have five grandchildren.
Kelly served as program coordinator of Miss Blair for 10 years and coordinates the backpack program that provides nonperishable food items for children at school. She is on the Friendship First Community Board and patient advisory council for Gundersen Tri-County Hospital in Whitehall and worked in the Blair-Taylor School District as a speech therapist until this year.
Dave was on the fire department for 25 years and was also a Scoutmaster with Boy Scouts. He is on the church council at Blair Lutheran Church and has been president of the Cheese Fest board for multiple years.
Cheese Fest is a can’t-miss event for the Mattison family, and Dave said he enjoys helping to put on the event each year.
“As much work as it is, and I get a little stressed out here, it’s a satisfaction to see people enjoying themselves and knowing that you’ve contributed,” he said.
Kelly said her husband deserves the honor of parade marshal.
“I was very happy for Dave for that recognition because of all he does for Cheese Fest,” she said, adding that her husband doesn’t do any of the work for the notice.
“He definitely deserves the recognition for all the work that goes into putting on this fest. It’s not just him alone of course, but I know he works very diligently on it year-round.”
Dave proved his wife correct, saying the event is never about one person.
“Cheese Festival is not about one person or two. It’s about a community coming together and using their time and talents and volunteering to make this thing go,” he said.
Both Mattisons say they hope the community will come out to enjoy good music, good food and the “something for everybody” offered by the festival, now in its 85th year.
“It’s a beautiful time of the year to come out and just enjoy the environment of a small town festival,” Kelly said.