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Parades take chill off start of holiday season

November 25, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

PENNSYLVANIA - Candy flew from everywhere. From floats, from muscle cars, from trucks, from people walking the parade route and dipping into baskets for liberal handfuls.

It was an early touch of Christmas in Greencastle and children were grabbing it.

They were stuffing sweets into whatever bags or other receptacles they could find. Four young children from the Perini families of Washington County kept their bounty in their hats.

The sun provided light Saturday morning, but for heat, it was outmatched by a biting wind. Still, hundreds of spectators bundled themselves tightly in thick coats and blankets and lined the sidewalks and the square.

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Someone portraying Ronald McDonald, the fast-food character, perched himself on a stand in front of a truck and waved as he passed. Mayor Robert "Red" Pensinger cruised along the route in a sporty yellow convertible.

An Antrim Township snowplow went by, then a car carrying Miss Franklin Fair Queen, who wore earmuffs with her tiara.

Draft horses pulled a carriage. Church carolers sang "Silent Night." Student bands played holiday standards.

From Ridge Avenue to Baltimore Street to Carlisle Street, the show marched on.

A single warm quilt enveloped Louann Suder and her 4-year-old son Jacob, who sat on her lap. They parked themselves in a chair in front of her downtown store, My Jacobs Ladder - A Primitive Gift Shop, which she opened about four months ago.

This was the 17th Greencastle Christmas parade, but the Suders' first.

Louann Suder said Jacob was anxious to see Santa Claus in the parade and has put together his Christmas wish list, but he didn't bring it Saturday.

Jacob couldn't remember his list, but he knew what he liked when he heard it. A pogo stick? Yes. SpongeBob SquarePants? Of course.

Vendors rolled shopping carts filled with toys and balloons along the parade route. Helium-balloon versions of SpongeBob SquarePants and Spider-Man were on sale, along with plastic pump action riot guns, police knives and hand grenades.

At a table off the square, people took free cups of hot chocolate faster than Sue Miller and Mary Troskoski could pour it. The women estimated that they filled and gave away about 500 cups until their yellow jug was empty for the last time.

It's an annual tradition for the Greencastle-Antrim Lioness Club, said Troskoski, the club's president, and Miller, the Lioness of the Year.

After the parade was over, the Perini children, their hats heavy with candy, weighed in on their favorite features of the parade.

"The bands," said Meredith, 9.

"The cars," said Peter, 8.

"The candy," said Noah, 6.

"All of it," said Matthew, 7.

They were escorted by their great-aunt, Josephine Perini, who lives in Rochester, N.Y., and was visiting her brothers, Dominick and Louis, for the weekend.

"I like the music, the bands, the enthusiasm, the happiness and the good spirits," Josephine Perini said.

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