Long-time volunteers of Manti Light Parade selected as grand marshal for this year’s event
By Robert Green
MANTI—The Manti Light Parade is back by popular demand and the chosen Grand Marshalls of this year’s festive event, Wayne and Vatia Jones, are ready to roll.
The parade was almost canceled due to emergency restrictions for COVID-19, but the community wanted the show to go on, according to Karen Soper, principal of Manti High School. The parade starts on Main Street at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27.
The Manti couple is more than worthy of the honor. The Joneses have helped with the Manti Light parade for the past 15 years.
“We moved here 20 years ago and have loved every minute of it,” Wayne says. “From the snow in the winter to the fishing in the summer.”
Along the way, the couple has been a stalwart of volunteerism and community service.
“Wayne and Vatia are community people to the very soul,” Soper said. “Wayne has been a vital member of our Christmas light parade committee for many years.”
He has proven to be reliable, punctual and willing to do all that is required to have a successful event, Soper said.
Vatia has donated hundreds of hours making quilts for the LDS Humanitarian Center here in Manti.
“If you happen to stop by Wayne and Vatia’s home you will most likely find a quilt in progress in their living room,” Soper said. “Vatia invites neighbors and ward members into her home to work on the quilts.”
Wayne and Vatia are famous around Sanpete County for owning hundreds of Nativity sets, Soper said. Friends are neighbors are invited into their home to see their collection of Nativities and enjoy a sweet treat. “They are good, kind people who enjoy bringing joy and happiness to others, Soper said.
Wayne said he was raised all over Utah and met his wife Vatia when he lived in Scofield. She was raised in Price. They were married in the Manti Temple 60 years ago. They have four children: Susan, Richard, Gerri and Scott.
Wayne has coached accelerated softball for 17 years in Sanpete County. He was also an assistant softball coach at Manti and Gunnison High Schools.
“He has donated thousands and thousands of hours coaching girls’ softball preparing them for high school and college softball programs,” Soper said.