CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- "You can see that's pretty worn. It's been a long long time," said Myers Park Resident Ann Ross Maxwell.
A newspaper article in her home might be starting to fade, but, Maxwell's memories of her stint as Queen of the 1949 Carolina's Carrousel Parade are still strong. "It was an enormous honor...and now to have us back, I think it's very special and I'm glad I can be there," Maxwell said.
While she gets ready to ride in this year's parade along with 16 other former queens, parade organizers are already searching for sponsors for next year's event.
"We are confident there will be some companies in the community that will step up and help us continue the legacy," said Carolinas' Carrousel Executive Director Linda Healy Vespa.
Belk says its withdrawing as the primary financial backer next year so it can focus on other initiatives. A move parade organizers say will not impact its future. "We're confident the parade will continue," said Carolina's Carrousel Board President Jeff Collins
As Ann prepares to join the nearly 130 other bands, horses and floats at one of the top Thanksgiving Day parades in the U.S., she has faith that a new sponsor will swoop in and ensure another year for this Charlotte tradition. "There'll be someone else. Definitely someone else will pick it up. It's too special," said Myers.
Parade organizers declined to provide financial details of this year's event. The parade marches down Tryon toward Stonewall beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday.