A local group was awarded one of the top honors Saturday at Scranton's 10-division St. Patrick's Day Parade seen before what organizers estimate was 140,000 to 150,000 spectators and a live television audience.

Members of the Victorian Highwheelers of Tamaqua were presented the Jim Egan Memorial Award, presented to a group whose parade participation is especially noteworthy and valued. The award was presented Saturday by the St. Patrick's Parade Association of Lackawanna County following the Tamaqua group's appearance.

Past recipients of the award have been the Scranton Fire Department, the Penn York Highlanders and the Washington Showstoppers.

The parade stepped off from St. Peter's Cathedral and included more than 150 units, mummers, 23 bands, among them 15 pipe bands, and over 12,000 marchers. The Scranton parade is billed as the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country. This year, the parade also saluted the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The Victorian Highwheelers, an educational nonprofit, began over a decade ago at a Tamaqua Heritage Festival. Since then the group has made appearances at hundreds of special events, museums and landmarks including the Philadelphia Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, Belvidere, N.J., Victorian Days, the Thomas Edison Commemoration in Sunbury and at other events in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

Group members demonstrate authentic Victorian highwheels from the 1880s, recognized as the first machines to give man the ability to travel far distance on land using his own power.

On June 30 the Victorian Highwheelers will be featured at the Sesquicentennial of Mt. Carmel, and the 109th Six County Firemen's Convention.