By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Mahoning Township East End Fire Department Deputy Chief Leslie Young will be marshal during the annual Halloween Parade on Oct. 24.
Young is the first woman in the United States to be chosen as an American Legion National Firefighter of the Year.
She was earlier named state Firefighter of the Year by the Department of the Pennsylvania American Legion in February.
Danville American Legion Post 40, which nominated her for the awards, honored her in June. Young is also the only female fire chief in Montour County.
She will be escorted during the parade by the East End Fire Department.
Another first for the parade will be a king instead of a queen, according to parade chairperson Jane VonBlohn.
The king and two princesses were chosen by Danville Area High School students with the queen and king program sponsored by the Key Club.
Cody Griffin is the king and princesses are Meghan Pontz and Carissa Boudreau.
Since they only had a tiara for the queen, VonBlohn’s husband Dean made a crown, complete with jewels, for the king to wear. The king and princesses will receive business gift cards.
The parade will form at 6 p.m. The first division will form on East Market Street and the second division will from on Railroad Street. The third and fourth divisions will form in the parking lot of the Iron Town Commerce Center.
In its 52nd year, the parade, started in 1961, is Danville’s largest parade.
It will proceed along East Market, Mill and Lower Mulberry streets and disband on Ferry Street behind Cole’s Hardware.
All kids participating will receive a dollar bill and a candy bar. If there are more than 15 kids in a group, the group will get $15.
Four bands are scheduled to provide music — the Danville High School Band, Danville Community Band and high school bands from Benton and Millville.
So far, there are 20 floats signed up — more are needed. There are usually 30 floats.
Individual marchers and groups are being sought to participate.
One car club has signed up so far.
Large and small groups registered include Girl Scouts and sports’ teams, Jane VonBlohn said.
Entry applications are available at Beiter’s Department Store, the Danville Municipal Building and Iron Heritage Festival Company Store, all on Mill Street, and Cole’s Hardware. There is no fee to enter.
“We have some nice monetary prizes,” she said.
The parade is made possible by donations. The Danville Legion serves as the largest sponsor with a donation of $3,800.
Chef Willie’s Creamy, on Mill Street, offers space for the parade committee to meet. JAWS Recycling of Danville provides the judges’ stand in front of the municipal building. This year, there will be 10 judges.
VonBlohn hopes younger people will join the parade committee. “We need new blood — we’re all getting older,” she said of committee members as old as 92. “We need young people for newer ideas.”
Anyone can attend parade committee meetings. The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Willie’s.
The parade committee includes Sam Harrison, Rae Leighow, Terry Nogle, Jim Shutt, Ray and Sharon Mausteller, Dean VonBlohn and Joe Whapham.
Although the deadline to register to participate in the parade is Saturday, committee members won’t turn anyone away. “If they show up, we will put them in somewhere,” Jane VonBlohn said.
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