By Kennedi Walker

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Saturday was Wally Funk Day in Grapevine.

Thousands celebrated the hometown hero and newest astronaut in the afternoon with a parade and festivities.

At 82, Funk is the oldest person to go space. Last month, she blasted off with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and two other crew members.

“This was the most fabulous thing of my life, being with Blue Origin,” Funk said.

Residents say they admire her tenacity.

“She’s a role model and an example of what one can hope my daughter can grow up to be,” Walter Alivar said.

She has made some young fans, too. Nine-year-old Beckett Potter says he wants to be like Funk when he grows up.

“I’d love to go to space because there’s so much to explore,” Potter said. “I love anatomy, I love space exploration, and I love engineering, and I feel like an astronaut combines all of that.”

A few local businesses are celebrating Funk, as well. Sonic in Grapevine is selling a special “Wally Funk Blast” and Weinberger’s Deli is selling a “Wally Funk Ham Sandwich.”

Kennedi Walker