By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Tradition is an underlying theme of Heritage Days celebrations in Portales and this year one tradition has returned to the Heritage Days parade; the presence of the Portales High School Marching Band.
Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry said it’s been seven years since the band has marched and played in the Heritage Days parade so its comeback on Saturday will make the parade special.
“The best place in town to view the parade is to be is on Avenue D and C,” Terry said.
The parade is just one of the highlights of this year’s celebrations. The high school band won’t be the only form of music, because many know Heritage Days wouldn’t be complete without the sounds of country, bluegrass and gospel music.
“A lot of folks are performing at the jamboree,” Terry said. “Linda Brown will be performing with what she calls the ‘perfect strangers,’ because most of the time it’s people that have never played music with each other. It’s more of a jam session than anything else.”
Another crowd favorite at Heritage Days is the car show, which Terry says has been moved to a more spacious area on the south side of City Park.
“The car show is dedicated to all the pioneers we lost this year,” Terry said. “Every time we lose these people, we lose a connection to the past. They did a lot of things to keep us connected to the past.”
Sandy Van der Veen, Portales MainStreet director, said it’s a great event for the whole family, especially if people need something for children to do because this year there will be a petting zoo, water wars and carnival games.
The event will also have a host of food, clothes and gift vendors as well as informational booths ran by community organizations.
Teresa Nance of Causey will lead this year’s parade as the grand marshal and a Pioneer of the Year. Nance, 70, has lived in Roosevelt County her entire life.
She was named Pioneer of the Year with her husband John Nance, who died in February.
“The reason that we’re pioneers is because my husband’s grandparents and my great-grandparents all homesteaded out here in the early 1900s,” Nance said. “It was a surprise. I didn’t think I was old enough to be a pioneer but they said I was. I think about the early settlers when I think of pioneers.”
After marriage and college, Nance dedicated 25 years as a teacher and librarian in Sudan, Texas, while her husband farmed and ranched. Nance commuted to work for many years while she still lived in Roosevelt County.
“Gas wasn’t that high then,” Nance said.
In their spare time, the couple enjoyed traveling and one of their favorite trips was a visit to Canada, where they attended a World’s Fair. But even after all of the traveling, Nance said it’s the people that kept her in of Roosevelt County.
“We’ve always lived around a small community and we always just had really good friends here,” Nance said. “It was a big surprise but we felt honored to be asked to be pioneers.”