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47th Lehighton Halloween parade set for Saturday

The 47th annual Lehighton Area Halloween Parade will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday. The rain date is 2 p.m. Sunday.

Registration and division assignments will be held at Ninth and Coal streets starting at 2 p.m. All tractor-trailer floats must be in line by 3 p.m. If a rain date is needed, tractor-trailers must be in line by 1 p.m.

The parade committee asks that groups do not meet in front of the registration table, as they must have a representative of their group register in order to be eligible for a prize.

Paraders are reminded they are permitted to toss candy and gum to the viewers, but cannot stop and perform in front of the judges stand.

The parade will begin at Seventh and Coal streets and make its way down to the Third Street intersection, before making a right onto Mahoning Street and then a left onto Eighth Street, where it will disband at the Grove.

This year’s parade will take on an even more special meaning, according to Julie Harris, chairwoman of the Lehighton Area Halloween Committee.

That’s because this year’s event is being dedicated to her mother, Judy Harris, who passed suddenly on Nov. 23, 2016.

“She was extremely dedicated to the parade for the past 23 years and was the secretary-treasurer,” Julie Harris said. “She put her heart and soul into the parade.”

The Mahoning Valley EMTs and Lehighton EMTs have been chosen as grand marshals for this year’s event, Julie Harris said.

“We always look for a person or group that does a lot of volunteer work throughout the year,” she said, adding that both groups certainly fit the bill.

Matt Ruch, director of operations, Mahoning Valley Ambulance, said he spoke on behalf of both Mahoning Valley Ambulance and Lehighton Ambulance, as well as all their members, for being chosen as parade grand marshals.

“I feel that it is a great honor to be selected as the grand marshal of the 47th annual Lehighton Halloween Parade,” Ruch said. “This parade has been an important part of our community for numerous years.”

Ruch added, “We feel that it is a high honor to be selected to lead this year’s parade. We are honored to follow the fire department and police department. We hope that we can uphold the standards and expectations that come with the position. We also hope the tradition continues for many years to come.”

Julie Harris said the parade is one of the annual highlights in the borough.

“I have families contacting me in the early months of the year so they can plan their family gatherings on the day of the parade,” she said. “People come ‘home’ from other states just to see our parade. Makes myself and the committee feel good when we hear stories like this.”

Julie Harris said the parade has been increasing in size throughout the years, and as a result, expenses have grown.

She said the parade runs strictly on donations for the local businesses and from the public. There is no entry fee to participate in the parade.

Julie Harris said financial help in conducting previous parades has been greatly appreciated, and any monetary contribution is greatly appreciated.

“I would like to thank everyone who volunteers their time to help with the parade, makes a monetary donation, the Lehighton Borough, the participants for marching and joining in the fun and the parade viewers that line the entire route from beginning to end,” she said. “That is what makes a great parade happen.”

This year, Julie Harris said they are looking for band sponsors. In order to sponsor a band, they are requesting a donation of at least $400.

Donations may be sent to the Lehighton Area Halloween Parade Committee, P.O. Box 241, Lehighton, PA, 18235.

The Mahoning Valley EMTs and Lehighton EMTs have been chosen as grand marshals for the 47th annual Lehighton Area Halloween Parade. From left are Julie Harris, parade chairwoman; Kyle Rich, Mahoning Valley EMT; Scott Rehrig, Lehighton Halloween Parade Committee; Myles Wolf, Mahoning Valley EMT; Delroy Ruch, Lehighton Halloween Parade Committee; and Ally McGinley, Lehighton Halloween Parade Committee. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS