From behind the scenes to front and center for Foster |

From behind the scenes to front and center for Foster

She’s used to being behind the scenes, even going so far as to appear incognito as an early 20th-century matriarch just about every fall along the streets of downtown Nevada City.

This year, however, Patti Foster (pictured above) won’t be able to hide behind her alter ego as Mrs. Grace Coolidge, first lady to the president who presided over the first part of the Great Depression.

No, instead of marching down Broad Street, Foster will be front and center at the Constitution Day Parade as this year’s recipient of the annual Col. Bill Lambert award.

The award is given by the Marching Presidents of Nevada City to recognize contributions to Nevada City and the Constitution Day parade. The weekend-long celebration starts Sept. 13, and the parade is on Sept. 14.

Foster, a longtime community volunteer and former schoolteacher, said she’s much more accustomed to working behind the scenes than being in front of one.

“I’m still thinking I’m going to wake up and find it’s not true,” she said.

Past winners of the award have included former Nevada City manager Beryl P. Robinson; Cathy Whittlesey, manager of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce; former city Councilman Steve Cottrell and the late folk singer Bruce “U. Utah” Phillips.

“It’s someone who has not just been attached to the Marching Presidents, but also to the community,” Foster said. “It’s an award that goes to people who are very aware of what’s going on in the community.”

Marching Presidents founder David Parker, who portrays Martin Van Buren during the parade, praised Foster for her work in the community as a board member of the Sierra College Nevada County Campus foundation, on behalf of the Marching Presidents and with several political campaigns.

“She’s basically chief of staff (for us),” Parker said. “I don’t think we could have done as much without her. She’s the kind of people that make this community what it is.”

“In my 67 years on this Earth, I don’t think I’ve been so honored,” Foster said. “It means you’ve worked very hard to make Nevada City a better community.”

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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