Two hours of Halloween fun
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Cartoon characters with the theme "It's a Great Pumpkin Patch Charlie Brown," ride the float of Nev & Nise Produce of Mahoning Township in the 40th annual Lehighton Area Halloween Parade on Saturday. The float took a first-place prize.
A six-division parade, with two bands, took two hours to pass in Lehighton on Saturday.
The 40th annual Lehighton Area Halloween Parade was one of the largest in the history of the march. Julie Harris, chairman of the parade committee, said she was pleased with the turnout of marchers and parade viewers.
Temperatures that began about 70 and dropped into the 60s throughout the duration, on a clear night, made viewing the parade a treat.
The event was nothing less than spectacular with dance schools performing along the parade route, creative and intricate floats, and ingenious costumes. Children viewing it went home with a bag full of candy, with many of the participants tossing Tootsie Rolls, 3 Musketeer bars, gum, and other favorites. There was more candy than usual tossed thanks to numerous political candidates participating.
The parade's grand marshals were Hilbert "Hilly" Haas and Charles Harris, who were instrumental in revitalizing the parade in 1971 after it had been dormant for about a decade. Haas and Harris have been members of the Lehighton Area Halloween Parade Committee for its entire 40-year duration.
The first band to appear was the Lehighton Area High School "Indian Pride" Band, which had a serious appearance marching in full parade uniform with the exception of an Indian chief walking in the middle of the cheerleaders.
Grabbing attention in the first division was Cub Pack 145. Using the theme "March Along With Cub Scouting," the Scouts wore green suits and green helmets with camouflage on their faces.
The City of Bethlehem Bagpipe Band led the second division. The 10-member marching unit, clad in gray plaid kilts with the majority of the members playing bagpipes, were as serious as the preceding band in their appearance.
The Rajah Shriners Oriental Band, a 14-member unit from Reading, rode the parade in a float but, as usual, were impeccable in their music delivery.
In the third division, the Lehighton-based Perseverance Jazz Band, under the direction of Henry Long, rode on a float, playing familiar tunes.
The Allentown Hobo Band, which led Division IV, played fun tunes such as "In Heaven There Is No Beer."
The Northeast Variety Band, under the direction of Harry Dunheimer, took the lead of the fifth division.
In Division VI, it was music by the impressive Blue Eagles Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps.
The parade consisted of many local organizations from preschool to high school. Numerous businesses had units in the line of march, including Nev & Nise Produce of Mahoning Township, which had a float with human cartoon characters. The unit was under the direction of Denise Frey and won a first-place prize. The theme was "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown."
Also netting first place for its float was Lehighton Senior Troop 3583. Dressed as the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White, the theme was "Hi Ho Off To Work We Go." Geri Haas, leader of the unit for many years, possibly has had her group in all 40 of the Lehighton parades.
The assortment of themes was nothing less than incredible, ranging from "Caged Lions" of the Bowmanstown-Parryville Lions Club to "God's Greatest Gift - Children," depicted by Daisy Troop 3241 and Brownie Troop 3538.
The Jukebox Cruisers Car Club had 25 antique vehicles in the parade, some of the cars decorated, including one covered with "spider webs" and another adorned with Halloween fright items.
Not all was entertainment. The Soldier's Angels, which had a float and motorcycles, had the theme "May No Soldier Be Forgotten."
Judging the parade were Judy Ardella, Ron Connor, Darryl Arner and Martha Cox.
• Floats: 1. Nev & Nise Produce "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown;" 2. Jim Thorpe National Bank "Even Santa Needs To Bank Somewhere;" 3. PNC Bank "The Road to Achievement."
• Cub Packs: 1. Cub Pack 145 "March Along With Cub Scouting," 2. Cub Pack 187 "Milestones of Scouting."
• Junior Girls Scouts: 1. Lehighton Troop 3349 "Girl Scouts Rockin' & Rollin Through the Years," 2. Junior Troop 3248 "Deck of Cards."
• Daisy Troops: 1. Daisy Troop 3241 & Brownie Troop 3538, "God's Greatest Gift 'Children'," 2. Daisy Troop 3176 & Brownie Troop 3167, "The Pumpkin Patch."
• Cadette & Seniors: 1. Senior Girl Scout Troop 3583 "Hi Ho Off To Work We Go," 2. Cadette Troop 3801 "Ghouls Scouts."
• Lions Clubs: 1. Bowmanstown Parryville Lions Club "Caged Lions."