Parade, fireworks highlight first July 4th event in Lehighton
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Aliyah Snyder, left, and Katie Kattner, dance queens, ride in convertible during Lehighton's Independence Day parade on Sunday. This was the first year for Lehighton's Independence Day celebration, which included a spectacular fireworks display.
Fourth of July in Lehighton was celebrated with a bang. And another bang. And many more bangs after that.
A colorful, brilliant, noisy, elaborate fireworks displays was part of the Independence Day celebration in Lehighton on Sunday. The two-day celebration - held Saturday and Sunday - was the first ever held in the community.
Earlier Sunday, a parade was held with a patriotic float, marchers, fire apparatus, and borough officials.
There was a carnival at Baer Memorial Park, swimming competitions, and several concerts - one by Palmerton songbird Donna Parsons and another by the Lehighton Band.
Opal Snyder, chairman of the Lehighton Downtown Improvement Committee, which organized the celebration, said she was pleased with the event.
"I could not believe we had pulled this off and the community really came out to support this event," said Snyder. "We could not have asked for a better turnout."
She said planning will get underway within the next week for next year's July 4th celebration.
"I really believe this is a tradition we are going to have for years to come and by the turnout, I believe Lehighton residents will be looking forward to it."
Proceeds benefit the LDIC.
One event was postponed. The Amazing Lehighton Race was scratched Sunday and will be held in September, said organizer Todd Zimmerman. Anyone interested in participating should e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parade featured Major General Marvin J. "Jay" Barry (USAF-retired) and his wife Christine as the grand marshals.
Despite temperatures around 90 degrees, turnout for the parade proved excellent. Two dance groups were well represented with marchers. The Lehighton American Legion Auxiliary was represented.
The Lehighton 912 Project had a patriotic float pulled by a farm tractor. The float depicted fireworks and had a theme of independence.
The Lehighton Fire Department displayed its water rescue unit as well as several pieces of apparatus.
Also in the parade was an aerial truck from the Mount Penn Fire Department in Berks County.
At the community grove, youngsters were thrilled with rides provided by Metz Amusements.
The Lehighton Band staged a concert in the Lehighton Park on Saturday night.
On Sunday, Parsons performed in concert. A highlight was a duet of "God Bless America" performed with Riley Durishin, who won a vocal contest sponsored by the celebration committee.
At the end of the fireworks display, Parsons provided a moving rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," playing it on fiddle. Snyder confessed that the performance by Parsons "brought me to tears."
During her concert, Parsons sang many country music favorites as well as some songs from her CDs.
Snyder said one of the main reasons for the success of the event was the dedication shown by her peers on the Lehighton Downtown Improvement Committee.
"Without them none of this would have been possible," she said. "Although our numbers were small, they were strong. I could not ask for a more enthusiastic, creative and intelligent team."