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54th Fort Ligonier Days parade features new units, traditional favorites

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

What do the Pittsburgh Dad, a giant potato and a Monster Truck school bus have in common? All will be appearing in the Fort Ligonier Days parade on Saturday.

When parade organizers began planning for this year's event, they focused on bringing new parade units that would attract the younger crowd along with the traditional favorites of the longtime parade fans.

“We try to bring in as many things as we can to keep the kids entertained,” said Tom Stablein, who co-chairs the parade committee with Peggy Shepler. “We saw it at another show and thought the kids would love it here in Ligonier.”

Michael Vaters' Higher Education monster school bus has appeared in shows around the country. The “Cool Bus” will be transported in the parade on a low boy trailer pulled by the Ligonier Volunteer Hose Co. No. 1. It will be parked near the Ligonier Valley School District office all three days of the festival.

“Monster Trucks are all about the kids. It will be hands on,” said Stablein. “The kids will be able to walk up to it and touch it.”

The parade will feature 125 units, a 25-percent increase from the 100 unit average attending the annual Ligonier parade.

The Mountaineer Marching Band from West Virginia University is one of 18 bands in the parade along with several area high school bands, the Balmoral Pipes & Drums and the Langford Polka Band.

The Shriners will return with an always entertaining performance.

Military units and marching units from historical organizations will also participate.

Horse units will include the David Hershey Percherons team. A rare six-horse hitch will be featured.

At 70-feet-long, the Idaho Potato Truck will promote the Meals on Wheels program.

George Washington, portrayed by Dean Malissa; Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Ralph Lincoln and Uncle Sam, portrayed by Ligonier's Chick Cicconi will round out the historical personalities in the parade. Many vehicles in the parade will be wrapped in pink to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.

This year the parade will be announced in two locations. Bill Brown will announce the units as they pass by the reviewing stand at the Diamond.

At the west end of the parade route, in the Mack M. Darr Co. parking lot, Ligonier Radio 1620's Ron Adams will announce the parade and broadcast live all three days of the festival.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

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