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Sharpsburg parade one of the oldest in U.S.

May 23, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

SHARPSBURG -- There was scarcely a single patch of shade along Sharpsburg's Main Street Saturday afternoon that wasn't covered in lawn chairs, strollers or blankets as hundreds of people from throughout the Tri-State area braved the heat to witness one of the oldest Memorial Day parades in the United States.

In its 142nd year, the Sharpsburg Memorial Day parade lasted about an hour and a half and featured school and community bands, fire and rescue vehicles, military units, Civil War re-enactors, dancers, majorettes, Scout groups, youth sports teams, pageant winners and more.

Parade announcer Roger Moore of the Sharpsburg Lions Club said the crowd turnout for the parade was great, considering the weather was hotter than it had been in recent years.

Temperatures were in the upper 80s Saturday afternoon, according to www.i4weather.net, a Web site maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

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Spectators used baseball caps, wide-brimmed hats and even umbrellas for relief from the hot sun, and several vendors along the parade route said they sold out of bottled water.

The Sharpsburg Church of the Brethren sold 118 bottles of water along with plenty of hot dogs and other refreshments, church board co-chair Kathy Gustafson said. Money raised from the sales will go toward community outreach and other church projects, she said.

The Ali Ghan Shriners delighted children such as 10-year-old Bryce Davis of Boonsboro as they drove their noisy minicars in loops, narrowly missing each other as they zipped across each others' paths. While Bryce's 8-year-old sister, Madeline, watched wide-eyed, covering her mouth, Bryce said he wished he could drive one of the cars.

Another highlight for children along the parade route was the generous handfuls of candy thrown from float after float.

Some children stuffed the candy into their pockets, while others filled the cup holders on their parents' folding chairs.

Taylor Gossard, 6, of Sharpsburg, used her Sharpsburg Amoco T-ball cap to store the candy she picked up after she finished riding in the parade.

Emmeline Pasquerette and her friends came prepared with large plastic bags they had decorated with stick-on flowers and foam letters spelling their names. The girls made the bags before the parade started as part of Emmeline's 7th birthday party, said her mother, Mary Pasquerette of Sharpsburg.

After the parade, the girls planned to cool off with a water balloon fight, she said.

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