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Inspired by her own life, Tonya Coates developed the winning theme for the Heartland Festival in the Park’s annual parade.
“My Hometown: The Town that Built Me” was selected by parade organizers in a contest staged by Bob Swope Ford, the parade sponsor.
“I thought about all the people who I’ve known and how they made me who I am,” Coates said.
She was born in Elizabethtown, grew up along Springfield Road, attended Hardin County Schools and has spent her personal and professional life in the area. Employed nearly 10 years as a customer service representative at Kentucky Neighborhood Bank, she has five children and three grandchildren.
As the winner, Coates will ride in a car near the front of the parade and receive a $100 gift card. Coordinated by the city of Elizabethtown, this year’s festival is Aug. 23-24 with the parade on West Dixie Avenue scheduled for Saturday morning.
The contest attracted nearly three dozen entries, according to Susan Gifford, marketing director for the Swope Family of Dealerships.
Coates said she never entered the theme contest before and submitted her idea at “the very last minute.”