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Residents chill out at parades

November 23, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. - The wreaths have been hanging in Waynesboro for days.

The Chambersburg Community Theatre has nearly completed its run of "Miracle of 34th Street."

The shops of Greencastle are starting to stay open late for Heritage Christmas.

Yet for Franklin County, it was not officially the holiday season until the parades came to town Saturday.

Three parades in one day has been a Franklin County tradition for years, starting in Greencastle in the morning, passing through Waynesboro in the afternoon and ending in Chambersburg in the evening.

Thousands of county residents, and even a few out-of-town guests, braved the chilly winds Saturday to ring in the holidays.

While the streets were packed at the start of each parade, by the end, the crowds thinned in favor of warmer climates.

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The weather is a constant variable for parade Saturday, Kathy Carbaugh of Waynesboro said as she waited for her children to walk past in the Waynesboro parade.

Having watched her son and daughter walk in the afternoon parade for the last six years, she is familiar with the unpredictable weather.

"Sometimes it is cold, sometimes it is unseasonably warm, but we always come," she said.

Jacki Sheley of Greencastle said the frigid weather would have kept her home this year, but her daughter, Becca, insisted they go to the Greencastle parade.

"We always go," Becca said.

As she danced on the sidewalk that morning to keep her small poodle Baby warm beneath her coat, Sheley said she was glad she came downtown to support the community, get into the Christmas spirit and unite with friends despite the cold weather.

Others, including Lori Leckron and her daughter, Lillian Rose, of State Line, Pa., came prepared for the 24-degree morning weather.

The two bundled up in coats, hats, blankets and scarves at 9 a.m. to catch the parade.

"We just love the bands and the horses," Leckron said. "I am from Cleveland, where winter is bone-chilling. Here, this is just cold."

Not everyone brushed off the cold as part of the season.

Carlene Wilhide, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Area Chamber of Commerce, said the cold slowed the Waynesboro parade to a gruelingly slow pace.

It took more than one and a half hours for 80 entrants to pass center square. On such a cold day, Wilhide said a snail's pace was not what people wanted.

Noting the constantly thinning crowd, she said, "We can't have a parade this slow when the weather is like this."

While Wilhide cannot predict the weather, she said she can and will make sure the parade is never so slow again.

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