Santa arrives in a blaze of light
By Mary Ann Thomas
Published: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, 12:26 a.m.
Santa Claus rode into Vandergrift perched high atop a bucket truck bedecked in twinkling white lights above the several thousand people who jammed Grant Avenue on Friday evening for the town's annual light-up night and parade.
With leaves swirling from strong winds that stripped the last remnants of autumn, the crowd assembled in front of Carino's Restaurant at Grant and McKinley avenues, where local children danced and Christmas carols competed with calls for hot chocolate.
Vendors selling an array of food such as roasted nuts and other goods were doing a brisk business.
“It's fast and furious,” said Marlene Herrick of Parks, who was selling handmade shawls and scarves.
It's the fifth year that her business “Another Knit Wit” set up a booth along Grant Avenue for the festive community celebration.
In fact, event organizers continue to add to the festivities.
“There's more crafts and more food. We keep trying to make this celebration bigger each year,” said Julie Martin, chairwoman of Vandergrift Improvement Program.
Additions this year included live dance and entertainment an hour before the parade blew into town “to give people something to do besides just waiting for the parade,” she said.
Parade marshals were Steve DelleDonne, borough secretary, and Missy Holmes, assistant secretary.
“We wanted them to know how much we appreciate them,” Martin said. “They get gruff from both sides — council and the public — and they do so much for the community.”
DelleDonne and Holmes were whisked through the parade by a horse-drawn carriage from Wolfe Dream Carriages in Allegheny Township.
A bevy of floats with elves and snowmen waving to the crowd peppered a long line of fire trucks in holiday finery from a number of neighboring communities.
Allegheny Township's emergency vehicle featured Kermit the Frog waving to the crowd.
But the show stopper might have been the two lively dalmatians outfitted in red harnesses and vests riding in a truck from the George McMurty Fire Department, Vandergrift No. 1, topped, of course, with a blow-up dalmatian.
Martin noted a bumper crop of floats that included Snoopy riding on top of a classic Checker cab.
Another crowd pleaser was the Kiski Area Cavaliers band trailer, which blew clouds of bubbles as it moved down Grant Avenue.
The parade is becoming more popular, according to Michele Shoemaker, of Parks, president of the Laurel Point Elementary School PTA.
“The kids have a blast,” she said. “Every year, more kids want to walk in the parade.”
This year's theme was “A Christmas Story” theme, and Shoemaker estimated that 70 students marched.
But who's counting?
For Bob Britten of Morgantown, W.Va., it wasn't the number of fire trucks but their flashiness without the horn-blowing that kept his 2-year old daughter, Thessaly Troilo, happy.
Britten, who was visiting family in Lower Burrell, said, “This is great. We were visiting and thought we'd see what was going on.”
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Pirates seeks to tap Alvarez’s remaining upside
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Pitt’s oldest known living football letterman turns 100
- Loss to Pitt propelled Clemson
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- Connellsville boys tennis team has optimistic expectations
- Ukraine & history
- Hitler & Cold War II
- Hillary’s past is in play
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career