Valdese, NC – The Town of Valdese is delighted to announce that North Carolina Representative Hugh Blackwell will be honored as Grand Marshal for the Valdese Annual Christmas Parade, which will be held on Saturday, December 4, at 10:00am.

Rep. Blackwell holds a B.A. degree with Highest Honors in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a law degree from Harvard Law School. While at Chapel Hill, Blackwell was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa National Scholastic Honorary, the Order of the Old Well, the Order of the Golden Fleece and was named one of four Frank Porter Graham Outstanding Seniors in his graduating class. He is a retired attorney who practiced law in Valdese for more than forty years. He also served on BB&T’s Burke County advisory board.

Rep. Blackwell and his wife, Ann, married for 48 years, have four children-Tod, Peter, Michael and Bridget- along with ten grandchildren. The Blackwells attend Faith Community Church where he is a choir member and has taught Sunday school. He served 8 years as a member of the Burke County Board of Education, 8 years as a trustee of Western Piedmont Community College. He served as a Vice President of The Burke County Chamber of Commerce, founding attorney and board member of the former Burke County Hospice, vice-chair and trustee at the old Valdese Hospital and an advisory board member of Burke County Big Brothers – Big Sisters.

Rep. Blackwell has represented Burke County in the North Carolina House of Representatives in Raleigh since 2009. As a member of the House, he serves on multiple committees, generally with an emphasis on education issues. At the current time he co-chairs the House K-12 Education Policy Committee, chairs the House Judiciary IV Committee, co-chairs the Senate-House Joint Education Legislative Oversight Committee. As an outgrowth of his legislative service, he is active with the Education Chairs Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and is a current member of its national Education Policy Working Group. He served for multiple years as a member from North Carolina on the Southern Regional Education Board’s Legislative Advisory Committee. His additional service, at different times, has included:

• Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children
• North Carolina Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

In September of this year, Hugh was recognized by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation as the Public Lands Conservationist of the Year. In 2017 he received the Champion for Children Award from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators. In both 2015 and 2018 he received an award from the North Carolina School Psychologists Association as A Friend of School Psychologists. In 2018 he received recognition from the national College Board for outstanding policy leadership in North Carolina. To discuss his work on North Carolina’s adoption of a new preparation program for school principals, Hugh was asked to be both a speaker and panelist on school leadership development at an education conference of the National Conference of State Legislators.

Rep. Blackwell is an avid supporter of state and local trails. He sponsored legislation to make Fonta Flora, Wilderness Gateway and Overmountain Victory trails, each partly in Burke County, state trails. This year he was lead sponsor of legislation that became law and declares 2023 Year of the Trail in North Carolina. He also obtained law for Wilderness Gateway trail to connect to Valdese Lakeside Park.

“Rep. Blackwell is a tremendous advocate for Valdese, and we are excited to honor him during this special event that kicks off the season,” states Morrissa Angi, Director of Community Affairs for the Town of Valdese. The parade route begins at the corner of Church Street and Main Street and continues to Morgan Street. Starting promptly at 10am and ending with a grand finale by Santa himself! “We look forward to celebrating the Christmas season with our community and have several exciting events ahead such as our Tree Lighting, Christmas movie screening, and virtual story times,” Angi shared.

For further information regarding the Christmas Parade and upcoming holiday events in Valdese go to or call 828-879-2129.