It’s not often that celebrities at the height of their fame honor request to appear at small town events, especially if there’s no prior connection.

In 1978, the town of Olivia in south central Minnesota took a shot and invited singer and actress Olivia Newton-John to serve as Grand Marshal of the Corn Capital Days Parade. And to their shock, she accepted and also did it for free. Dave Pederson, who had the idea to invite her says her participation in the parade helped lift the spirits of town residents following a plane crash that had killed six prominent citizens. Olivia Newton-John died Monday at age 73 after a long battle with breast cancer.