CANONSBURG - The chairs.They’re back.
The first appeared last Friday. Then, like tribbles in the much-beloved “Star Trek” episode, they multipled. By Monday morning, lawn chairs, office chairs and chairs festooned with red, white and blue lined Pike Street in downtown Canonsburg.
The arrival of the chairs is an annual harbinger of the Fourth of July, and Canonsburg’s blockbuster parade. Their appearance days before the event is par for the course, but, like Christmas carols echoing through department stores before Halloween, they’ve been appearing earlier and earlier in the last couple of years. The appearance of the first chair a full 12 days before the Fourth is likely some kind of record, according to Terry Hazlett, Canonsburg’s borough manager.
“As always, people are putting chairs out at their own risk,” Hazlett explained. “They’re putting chairs on other people’s property, because in Canonsburg, business owners are responsible for their sidewalks.”
He said that, over the years, very few chairs have been stolen and the profusion of them on the borough’s main drag brings positive attention to the community. But, “we strive to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.”
The parade, the 50th in the borough’s history, will get under way at 10 a.m. July 4 and is expected to last about three hours. The marshals this year are former Mayor Anthony Colaizzo, and residents Ed Snarey and Mario DiPalma, the “founding fathers” of the parade. The celebrity marshal will be Adam Brock, the Washington resident and finalist on this year’s edition of “American Idol.”
Just before the parade, the annual Whiskey Rebellion 5K Race is set for 7:45 a.m., followed by the ringing of church bells at 9 a.m., and remarks from Mayor David Rhome and Mary Maslanik, the chairwoman of the Fourth of July Committee, in the parking lot of the Salandra Funeral Home.
Free admission to the pool at Canonsburg Town Park and a fireworks display at Canon-McMillan Stadium will cap off the day.
Rather than just having the chairs sit and bake or be otherwise pummeled by the summertime weather for the next week or so, residents can decorate them for the “Parade of Chairs” contest being sponsored by Canonsburg’s Our Town Cooperative. Cash prizes will be given for chairs deemed most patriotic and most original, with the winners being announced in the “Blast Before the Fourth” event scheduled in downtown Canonsburg July 3.
Even though the elbowing for prime parade spots has already begun, the chairs need only be along Pike Street by 5 p.m. July 3 in order to be eligible.
“If they’re going to put chairs out, we want them to look nice,” said Nadeen Steffey, the Main Street manager. She also noted blocking off chunks of sidewalk with yellow crime-scene tape, which appeared to be all the rage last year, gives the downtown a “CSI: Canonsburg” flavor, and isn’t exactly attractive or festive.
“If you’re going to block off a spot, block it with a chair,” she said.