While imperfect weather conditions and technical difficulties made the return of the Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival less than ideal, the community rallied to make it work.
The parade on Saturday was preceded by a large craft fair, full of vendors, fair food and smiles. Perhaps no band was more excited about the return of the festival than the vendors themselves.
“It’s so nice to be among the people again” said Lynn Kibbe, owner of Foggy Mountain Studio and scratchboard artist.
Joy O’Neil, of O’Neil’s Custom Crafts, agreed.
“We like to meet up with our friends” O’Neil said.
“I’m a sociable person.”
April Hart of Bespoke Apothecary was “Absolutely” happy to be back at the Laurel Festival.
“We are happy that things are looking a bit normal again” Hart said.
Luckily, however, the parade was far from “Ordinary.”
The first of several snags occurred about 10 minutes before the start of the parade.
A large American flag was hoisted at the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue. There were some issues with the suspension used to hold the flag, and it almost fell at one point.
Several people jumped up to make sure it didn’t hit the ground, and it was finally secured. The large parade crowd applauded as the banner was raised.
The parade itself was announced by Jason Bump and Kevin Thomas of local radio station KC101-FM.
“Keeping a community alive” takes everyone, Thomas said before the parade started.
The procession began with Wellsboro Police Chief James Bodine and Wellsboro Mayor John Wheeler.
The 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, aka the “Bucktails”, a group of Pennsylvania soldiers who fought in the Union Army. The reenactors presented their weapons to the public as they marched.
Many musical acts also graced Main Street on Saturday.
The Buffalo Bills official drum line, DownBeat Percussion, accompanied pop music, and the Edward P. Maloney Memorial Pipe Band performed traditional bagpipe music. The Pipe Band participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.
Prime Time Brass played “My dear Caroline,” and the Blossburg Fire Department’s 4-2 engine sounded its horn to the beat of the music.
There was a bit of reluctance among the crowd to join in on the festivities, but advertisers assured people that they “can have fun.”
However, the fun died down with the following technical problem.
The Korean War truck had some problems: the engine stopped working, but a good number of spectators stood up to push the truck. The parade came to a standstill when, further down the road, the truck began to blow steam. No one was injured by the overheated truck, and more spectators moved quickly to keep the parade going.
The Vortex Indoor Winds set kept the crowd entertained as the truck rolled off the parade route. After quick representations of the “Peril” song and “Happy Birthday,” the crowd joined “Take me to the ball game.”
Other notable parade participants were floats carrying contestants from Laurel Queen, Smokey Bear with the Cedar Mountain Wildfire Crew and the Penn York Highlanders of Athens.
In the evening after the parade, Miss Central Mountain, Jocelyn Renninger, claimed the crown of Laurel Queen. Miss Williamsport, Alayna Dake, was the first runner-up, with Miss Saegertown, Amber Costello, second.
As the rain started to fall just as the parade ended, the jovial vibe followed the crowds for the rest of the day.