A little rain wasn't enough to scare off a good crowd for Tuesday evening's 43rd Annual Tamaqua Halloween Parade.
In fact, the ghosts, goblins, ghouls and assorted creatures of the night might have frightened away the heavier precipitation, which lightened to a mere drizzle by the time the parade started at 7 p.m., then pretty much ceased during the festivities, outside of the evening's foggy, misty atmosphere.
The parade is sponsored by the Tamaqua Lions Club, with administrative assistance from the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce. The Tamaqua Wireless Association provides communication along the parade route, and the Tamaqua Fire Police provide traffic control.
The parade begins at the east end of the borough and commences westward along Broad Street (Route 209), through the Five Points Intersection with Route 309 and to St. Jerome's Church parking lot at West Broad and Swatara Streets, where it disperses in the following block.
While the rain might have kept a few participants away, there were still plenty of entries in the four division parade to make for a festive event. Parade watchers lined both sides of the street, many of them wearing raincoats or armed with umbrellas.
This year's grand marshal was state Sen. David Argall (R-29), the longtime state representative for the 124th District of eastern Schuylkill and northern Berks Counties. Sen. Argall and his wife Beth rode in a horse-drawn carriage provided by Crystal View Carriage Service.
The judges' stand was located in front of the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce office at 114 West Broad St. Chamber board of directors member and TIMES NEWS bureau chief Joe Plasko served as master of ceremonies. Judges for the event were Timothy Stahl, Barron-Lynn George, Heidi Devlin and Jack Kulp.
The parade was escorted up Broad Street by the Tamaqua Police and American Legion C.H. Berry Post 173, Tamaqua, Mayor Christian Morrison, the Tamaqua Ambulance Association and the borough's four volunteer fire companies, which included an appearance by the American Hose Fire Company's “ladies auxiliary," which was actually a group of the male firefighters dressed as women.
The Tamaqua Area Raider Marching Band and Marian Catholic High School Band each led off one of the divisions.
Mauch Chunk Trust Company was the parade's major corporate sponsor and provided the top cash prizes for Best of Show, as well as the first place marching unit and first place float/motorized unit.
The Best of Show award of $150 went to Climb-A-Lot Clubhouse, Hometown, for the tempting “Trick or Treat" float, filled with giant confections such as oversized Tootsie Rolls and York Peppermint Patties. It was the dream for every sweet tooth.
In the Floats/Motorized Units division, the winner of the $100 first prize was Tamaqua Area Animal Rescue, for its theme trailer, “Dogs Helping People."
The second place prize of $75 in the Motorized division went to the Tamaqua Public Library for its Dr. Seuss-themed entry. The third place prize winner of $50 was DH Double Hard Cleaning Service.
The $100 winner for Best Marching Unit was Tamaqua Brownie Troop #31296, with the theme of “Girl Scouts are cooking up good things in the neighborhood." Dressed as chefs, the Brownies had a makeshift oven along with them, from which they produced a plate of fudge brownies (what else?) for the judges to sample.
The second place prize of $75 went to Mr. Twister, which had a 1950s ice cream truck accompanied by pink-wearing ice cream girls.
Third place among the marching units was Tamaqua Cub Scout Troop 777, which had the theme “Get Gobbled Up in Scouting" and featured the Scouts dressed as Pac Man, which earned them the $50 prize.