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Community stars in New Kensington Christmas parade

| Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Nancy Tressler, of New Kensington, throws candy to children atop the Valley High School JROTC float during the New Kensington Christmas parade on Saturday, December 1, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Ava Shumaker, 3, gathers candy as her brother, Ricky, 1, watches the New Kensington Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Santa Claus arrives atop a New Kensington fire truck to a crowd of people gathered for the New Kensington Christmas parade in downtown on Saturday, December 1, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch

While it's the candy, fire trucks and Santa Claus that draw squeals of delight from the kids watching the annual New Kensington Christmas Parade, the adults are thrilled by the sense of community the event creates.

“It's a wonderful event for our community,” said Amy Carson, 37, whose sons Dakota and Colton were in the parade. “It's such a positive thing for us, and we're so thankful for it.”

Hundreds of Alle-Kiski Valley residents lined Fourth and Fifth avenues on an unseasonably warm Saturday for the parade. Boy Scout troops, the Valley High School marching band and some of the kids' favorite movie characters were among the many that participated in the parade.

Twin sisters Isabella and Emma Dobrzynski, 8, waved to friends in the parade as the floats passed.

Their favorite featured the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

And, of course, the sweets treats were a big hit.

“I like that they throw candy,” said Emma.

Among the floats was one that featured the Ten Commandments. It was led by Dan McAndrews dressed as Moses, who sat beside a representation of Mount Sinai where Moses is said to have received the commandments from God.

Each commandment, written on a hard foam cutout made to look like stone, was pulled in a red wagon.

With the federal court battle waging on whether to remove the Ten Commandments monument near Valley High School, parishioners of Harvest Baptist Church of Harrison jumped at the chance to include the float in this year's parade, McAndrews said.

The float, built by a couple from Paradise United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant, is offered to communities for their parades, he said.

“It's something to remind people that they're not offensive,” McAndrews said. “They're just simple ideas.”

Though there was a serious message, the crowd enjoyed the float.

“I heard so many cheers as we walked through,” McAndrews said. “People were saying, ‘yeah, Ten Commandments,' and that's not something you hear every day.”

New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo said it was quite an honor to host the Biblical figure.

“New Kensington is so wonderful, we were able to bring Moses here today,” he said while announcing each group at the end of the parade route.

Dorothy Gallagher, who lives and works in New Kensington, said she enjoys the parade every year.

“I try to participate in anything that's going on here,” she said. “It's a good positive thing in the community.”

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or

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