The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 7, 2009

Spectators crowd Middleburg for fireman's parade

MIDDLEBURG —There’s nothing quite so quintessentially American as a small-town’s fireman’s parade, especially when the town knows how to do it up big.

Middleburg has been honoring fire departments in the region for as long as anyone can remember. Even Don Hackenburg, father of Reliance Hose Company Chief Dwayne “Butch” Hackenburg, can’t recall how many years the parade has existed.

“I’m 75 years old,” he said Thursday night shortly after the two-hour parade ended. “And I’m guessing there was a fireman’s parade here before I was born.”

But none like the one Thursday night on Main Street.

The event has become one of the largest and most dynamic parades in the Susquehanna Valley, featuring representative fire engines from almost every department in Snyder County and beyond. They were joined by marching bands, floats, antique cars and many other colorful entries.

Thousands of spectators, some five rows deep, lined a two-mile stretch of town, winding up at and around the campgrounds, where the fireman’s carnival still is in progress.

Adults and children waved American flags as a parade of veterans from the Middleburg American Legion led off the parade, stepping down Main Street. Hundreds of kids gobbled up candy thrown at them by firefighters in their trucks.

“It’s like Halloween for the children,” said Joanne Crossley, of Selinsgrove. Then, she looked at the crowd surrounding her: “I think everyone who lives in Snyder County is here.”

Bob McKnight, of Port Trevorton, said, “Tonight, the population of Middleburg has doubled.”

Most impressed were the firefighters.

Ross Blain, deputy chief of the Tuckahoe Fire Company in Point Township, Northumberland County, said: “I was last here about 10 years ago. But this is awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much support for fire departments anywhere else, and I’ve seen parades like this in cities. There are thousands of people here. Even at the end of the parade near the parking area, people lined the streets. I am very impressed.”

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