Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, animals, and princesses were just a few of the more than 500 costumed marchers and the dozen floats that took part in Wednesday's 60th annual Andreas Halloween Parade, hosted by the West Penn Lions and Lioness Clubs.
Despite the chilly temperatures, onlookers stretched almost the entire parade route. With parking at a premium, the Andreas Sporting Club and many Andreas residents stepped up to provide use of their parking lots and front yards to satisfy the big demand. Parade parking was further limited this year due to the unavailability of the Andreas Fire Company lot, which was taped off and closed to paradegoers.
The judging stand was across the street from the fire company.
Approximately 30 organizations, representing many unusual and creative themes, participated in this year's parade. Three-year parade chairperson and coordinator was Lisa Sharpe, Andreas, and the master of ceremonies was Bob Neumoyer. Judges were Becky Neumoyer, Lizanne McElwee and Marie Gursky.
This year's parade committee consisted of Sharpe, Barbara Lushia, Scott Dudley, Bob and Judy Miller, and Pat Bednarik. West Penn Township Police Chief Brian Johnson and the Andreas General George S. Patton Jr Post 5069 color guard lead the parade.
The Andreas VFW Post was one of the oldest organizations to participate. This year's grand marshal was Althea Zehner, who is a life-long resident of West Penn Township. She taught elementary school for more than 30 years, was a past president and secretary of the West Penn Garden Club, and a past matron in the Eastern Star.
The Tamaqua Marching Band, dressed from head to toe in scary attire, was one of the top marching musical attractions of the parade.
Three top prizes were given in both the float and marching theme categories. The three organizations that placed top in the float theme category were: first place, McArdle and Hehn families with the theme of Bee Keepers Garden; second place, St. Peter's Preschool with the theme of Itsy Bitsy Spider; and third place, Bowmanstown-Parryville Lions Club with the theme of Caged Lions.
The three top organizations that placed in the marching theme category were: first place, West Penn Brownie Troop 1323 with the theme of Wizard of Oz; second place, Tamaqua Girl Scout Jr Troop 31106 with the theme of Fishing for Recruits Come Join our School; and third place, Lehighton Girl Scout Junior Troop 3248 with the theme of Deck of Cards. All other units received honorable mentions.
After the parade, the marchers and parade participants were treated to more than 600 free hot dogs and drinks via the West Penn Lions and Lioness Club at the Andreas Sporting Club, where the awards were given out. Sharpe and members of the Lions and Lioness Club voiced their appreciation to all the supporters and participants of this parade.
Among those thanked were various community organizations and individual volunteers who help with the parade every year. They included Pat Bednarik, who was the parade chairperson for more than 30 years; the Andreas VFW Post 5069; West Penn Police and Fire Police for providing traffic control; Quakake and Tamaqua Rescue for providing sound; Andreas Sporting Club for providing parking and after-parade meeting area; Mary Fritz for providing corsages for over 30 years; Lester Kistler and his bus drivers for donating bus transportation for band members; Wayne Troxell and Herlin Heberman for providing their properties; Bob and Judy Miller for providing signs; Dale Smith for providing the PA system, and many others.
The lights were provided by Scott Dudley, Paul Barth, and Joe Benarik. Sharpe said the parade was definitely larger than in recent past years and couldn't be done without the continued support of all the volunteers and organizations.