Grand marshal Bob McDorman will lead this year's Canal Winchester Labor Day parade in grand style in a 2012 Corvette.

Grand marshal Bob McDorman will lead this year's Canal Winchester Labor Day parade in grand style in a 2012 Corvette.

The parade for the Labor Day Festival the city's biggest annual event - takes place at 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5, in downtown Canal Winchester. Labor Day Committee president Phil Hanlon said the group was happy to honor McDorman by naming him this year's parade grand marshal.

"Each year, we have at least three deserving community members to choose between. (McDorman's) been involved with the Labor Day Festival over the years, along with everything else he does, so we thought it would be a good gesture to honor him," Hanlon said. "I'm glad we were able to get Bob before he officially retired."

The 79-year-old McDorman recently sold his dealership to Jeff Wyler Automotive Family Inc., although he retained a 15-percent interest in the company. Once the sale is approved by GM, the dealership will be renamed Jeff Wyler Chevrolet.

"I'm still really crazy about cars," McDorman said. "But I've been so busy with running the business and museum I never really get to enjoy them. My goal now is to drive a different Corvette every day. I was going to drive a classic '57 Chevy in the parade, but my wife reminded me that I'm known for Corvettes, so instead, we'll be in a 2012 'vette."

Mayor Michael Ebert nominated McDorman this year.

"Bob's been in the car business since I was a teenager, and in that time, he's done a lot for the community and the schools and he's always very supportive of the projects the city undertakes," Ebert said.

Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce president Kim Rankin said McDorman is deserving of the honor.

"Bob's a standing icon of business in our community; he's a savvy and wise businessman and a great promoter of our community," she said. "He's been the chamber's businessperson of the year several times and is a great supporter of our community, included hosting many events at his location.

"When people think of Canal Winchester, the often think of Bob McDorman and his Corvettes."

McDorman said he is flattered by the title and looks forward to the annual festival.

"It is a great honor to live here, and then to have the community honor me like this is really special," McDorman said.

McDorman has operated Bob McDorman Chevrolet for 46 years. He said he retained 15-percent ownership so he could work to his 50th anniversary as a Chevy dealer, an achievement he attributes to his passion for the business.

"A favorite quote of mine is that you can fake your attitude and you can fake your enthusiasm, but you can't fake your passion," he said.

One of his passions is the Bob McDorman Corvette and Classic Chevy Show, an annual fundraiser for Nationwide Children's Hospital. The 38th annual show is scheduled for 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept 10, at the dealership, 5885 Gender Road.

"So far, we've raised about $250,000 for Children's," he said. "We like to help out the schools quite a lot - we've donated three scoreboards so far - and I'll spend the rest of my life helping the community, churches and charities."

General manager Marc Hellman hopes to see McDorman continue his involvement with the dealership.

"He will continue to be involved in the dealership and his forte is bringing people together," Hellman said. "I think he can do pretty much whatever he wants. I hope he'll continue to organize the car shows and fun things like that."

For more information about Labor Day Festival events, visit www.cwlaborday.org.