2012 Strawberry Festival
It is an honor to name Lou Engels as the Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal for 2012. Lou has been an Islander since 1950 when his father opened Engels Towing and Repair in its current location in 1951. Lou took over the business in 1969 and has been hard at work servicing Island vehicles six days a week for the past 43 years, the second oldest continuous business on the Island. During these years Lou has been an employer and mentor to numerous young kids from the community who have worked for him, many who continue to return to the "shop" to thank him for his time and talents in working with them.
Lou has also been an active member of our community, including coaching Vashon school sports, booster club and is currently involved with high school and junior high off-season basketball programs. Lou has been a member of the Vashon music scene since high school when he formed a band, The Queensmen, in 1957, who went on to perform big band era music all over Seattle. Later, in 1973, along with Monty Sewell and Peter Bruchas, Lou formed the infamous Portage-Fill Harmonic Band, an 18-20 member band that entertains Vashon crowds to this day, including two performances in the 2012 Strawberry Festival.
A couple of other favorites that Lou enjoys offering to the community are his annual Engels Car Show and his Christmas Tow Truck display decorated in front of his shop. He simply says "it costs a deal of money to pay for supplies, lights and employee wages to create the display...but after all, it is Christmas and it is good for the community". Lou has also been a generous donor to many diverse organizations on the Island for many years.
Look for Lou and his wife, Connie, in the Grand Parade on Saturday of Strawberry Festival and on Sunday in the Tom Stewart Memorial Classic Car Parade.