Terri Parsons bears the title of Wilkes County film commissioner, but she is equally an ambassador for Wilkes.
In her volunteer role, Parsons has been involved with over 200 filming projects in Wilkes in the 14 years she has lived in this county. They have included feature movies of all sorts, documentaries, docudramas, commercials, music and company videos and more.
She just finished assisting with the filming of a Pennzoil commercial in Wilkes featuring 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano. She currently is helping ESPN2 with a documentary on Wilkes native Johnny Swofford, who is about to retire as Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner.
Through the years, Parsons has become known among filmmakers as the go-to person with the contacts needed to provide whatever Wilkes has to offer a filmmaker. There is much more to her work than one might imagine, but fortunately she enjoys it.
She secures lodging and certificates of insurance and lines up qualified extras, caterers, medical support, props and more. She also coordinates with law enforcement, the state film office, actors’ unions and other involved parties.
Parsons and North Wilkesboro Mayor Robert Johnson scout out and help secure filming locations here to fit the project. Often this is the North Wilkesboro Speedway, as was the case with the Pennzoil commercial.
Parsons, Florida’s former director of tourism, is known for her connections to the North Wilkesboro Speedway and movers and shakers in the motorsports industry. This is largely through her husband, the late Benny Parsons.
Wilkes County native Benny Parsons was a Daytona 500 winner, 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, well known ESPN announcer and 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee.
Parsons died prematurely in 2007 due to complications from lung cancer. He had just moved back to Wilkes and undoubtedly would have been a significant force for good in this county.
Parsons promised her late husband that she would volunteer her services for the benefit of Wilkes and she is driven by that commitment.
Her efforts have included doing as much, if not more, than any other one person to bring the North Wilkesboro Speedway back to life. This included a brief reopening that started in 2010.
So, here’s a big thank you to Terri Parsons, Wilkes County film commissioner extraordinaire and an unsung hero.