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Front Page » December 6, 2007 » Local News » Marshals ready to electrify Helper's parade
Published 2,864 days ago

Marshals ready to electrify Helper's parade

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Franny Henrie and Lisa Critchlow are all set to head the light parade this weekend. John Serfustini.

High wattage fun at the Helper Electric Light Parade won't be limited to the floats as this year's grand marshals promise to add a little spark of their own.

Taking their place at the head of the processions Friday and Saturday nights Franny Henriee, 56 and Lisa Critchlow, 46 said they intend to make the most of their return presence in Helper.

"Like everything else we did they are going to know we are there," the duo said.

Henriee and Critchlow were a staple in downtown Helper for more than three decades as they trimmed, cut and styled hair for residents of every age at Franny's Barbershop. The women who's lives intersect in a myriad of ways decided in 2006 that enough was enough and closed their door.

"I think I still have hair in my lungs," said Critchlow.

While 30-some-odd years of inhaling hair isn't something the ladies particularly miss, they say they do miss their customers.

"They were like our best friends," said Henrie.

As it turned out the barbershop like one pictured in the days of old was far more than a place to get a new "do". According to the women it really was a gathering place for the community.

"We had the ear and the attention of the residents," said Henrie. "We could actually influence what was happening in the town. If we were for something we were really for it and if we were against it we said so."

Henrie said she spent time rotating her role as president and treasurer of the then active Helper Business Association. Despite her time with the association, she said the real contribution came from the shop and the women's accessibility.

"If you lost a pet or your wife we would sit and wail with you," said Henrie.

A float clomps by in the spirit of the holiday at the 2006 Helper Electric Light Parade. A rider knows how to stay warm and stay festive at same time.

And every afternoon the shop transformed into an impromptu lunch spot where residents would pop in with their food and spend sometime chatting with the ladies.

"People would drop in all the time. It was the place to go," said Henriee. "We called it the "hairball cafe."

The women's connection includes Critchlow being married to Henriee's brother Buff, being next door neighbors and being best friends. Their connection to Helper runs almost as deep.

Henriee said she raised her kids in the barbershop and consequently saw the best side of people, especially older retired men.

"They would change diapers, feed the baby, just about anything to keep me working," she said.

She said her 3-year-old would toddle next door to eat breakfast at Veltri's Drugs.

"I would call over to say he was coming and then they would come out and get him," she said.

It was this presence in Helper that prompted the Utah's Christmas Town Committee to pick the women as this year's marshals, according to Jodi Mascaro, a member of the committee.

"We wanted to honor them after the barbershop closed, so we asked them last year if they would do it," said Mascaro. "We (the committee) will decorate the float they are riding in."

Henriee and Chritchlow said they were really excited when they were asked to lead the parade and that they really appreciate the event.

"The air and the mood of the town really change," said Chritchlow. "It (the parade) really creates a good spirit."

As for the ride through town on the float, Henriee's said she's geared to make the most of it.

"I'm going to be hollering and yelling to all my friends," she said.

The Helper Electric Light Parade starts at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday. For more information call Mark Montoya at 650-4180.

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