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Grapevine will fête Wally Funk with parade to celebrate historic Blue Origin space flight

Grapevine will fête Wally Funk with parade to celebrate space flight

Wally Funk aboard Blue Origin New Shepard
The 82-year-old Wally Funk became the oldest person to go to space on July 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin

The city of Grapevine is throwing a parade for its hometown hero Wally Funk for her history-making experience aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital rocket.

The parade, happening Saturday, August 7, will take place along Historic Main Street beginning at 12 pm. It will head south from Wall Street toward Dallas Road, culminating on Peace Plaza at Grapevine Main Station. It will be immediately followed by a presentation featuring Funk, aviation leaders, peers, Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate, and the Grapevine City Council.

The events are free and open to the public.

The 82-year-old aviation pioneer became the oldest person to go into space on July 20, besting the record previously held by the 77-year-old John Glenn. Funk first trained to be an astronaut in the 1960s as part of the Woman in Space Program, although she and the rest of the group known as the "Mercury 13" never made it to space.

Funk would go on to a long career as a pilot and flight instructor, making history as both the first female FAA inspector and first female NTSB air safety investigator.

Funk was joined on Blue Origin New Shepard by Bezos, Bezos' brother Mark (a TCU alumnus), and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands who became the youngest person to go into space.

In interviews after the 11-minute flight, Funk enthusiastically told reporters, "I loved every minute of it. I just wish it had been longer.”