Ketner to serve as Grand Marshal for Holiday Caravan Parade

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner is back in the spotlight in Salisbury lately, first for his 94th birthday celebration that included thousands of Food Lion associates, and now for being named Grand Marshal of the Holiday Caravan Parade.

"Our board decided earlier this year it was time to honor this man who has done so much for this community," said Wesley Perry, chairman of the Holiday Caravan Board of Directors. "Mr. Ketner personifies everything that this parade has been about for the past fifty-five years."

Ketner and his brother Brown, along with Wilson Smith, established the grocery chain in 1957 with its first store in Salisbury.  Food Lion is still based in Salisbury and is a company of Delhaize America, the U.S. division of Brussels-based Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG).  Today, Food Lion operates more than 1,100 supermarkets in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, and employs more than 62,000 associates.

Part of the celebration honoring Mr. Ketner is a new initiative with the parade, a community food drive along the parade route, to support Food Lion Feeds initiative to support hunger relief in the markets it serves. Applications for professional floats, other entries and reserved seating are now being accepted at

Presented during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season, the Holiday Caravan's units contribute to the overall "Happy Holidays" theme as related to Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. The 2014 Holiday Caravan Parade will be held Wednesday, November 26, 2014 with a start time in Spencer of 2:00 pm and Salisbury at 3:00 pm.

The parade is an all-volunteer production coordinated through a non-profit organization, led by a volunteer Board of Directors.