Grand Parade

Arlene Wagner named Grand Marshal

Arlene and George Wagner moved to Leavenworth in 1985, and since they had traveled to Germany many times, felt at home in this Bavarian Village. They purchased a gift shop, opened another store specializing in nutcrackers, and became active in community groups that promoted the Bavarian theme. And they dressed the part– every day they could be seen in Bavarian Trachten, much to the delight of the many tourists who came to Leavenworth to experience a bit of German culture.

In 1995 the Wagners donated their huge nutcracker collection and the building in which it is housed to open the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, a non-profit 501(c)3 foundation. They wanted their collection to be enjoyed for generations to come. Since then others have donated specimens, making this one of the largest collections of nut opening devices in the world, nearing a count of 7,000 specimens. Visitors have come from every state in the Union, every province in Canada and 84 other countries to see this fascinating collection.

Arlene is known world wide as an authority on nutcrackers, and has written five books on the subject, as well as many articles and news items. She was First Guest on Conan O’Brien’s show, and has appeared on the Food Network, Arts & Entertainment, and Sunday Morning CBS as well as other northwest TV stations. She has shown large displays in many cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Hong Kong.

As you can imagine, when she was asked to be Grand Marshal, it was a complete surprise.

“Oh my goodness yes. I had absolutely no idea,” Arlene said. “It is such an honor. It is overwhelming.”

Arlene has traveled the world over promoting the Nutcracker Museum, but this is special.

“This is promoting Leavenworth and everything about Leavenworth, including the Nutcracker museum,” she said.

She’s looking forward to the entire Autumn Leaf experience.

“The evening before there is a banquet I’m to attend, the parade and a luncheon after the parade,” she said. “I’m going to be on the Wells Fargo wagon, which will be thrilling and very fun.”