CANONSBURG – A Canonsburg Borough policy that restricts Independence Day paradegoers from staking out their spot along the sidewalk with chairs more than two days in advance is in effect for the first year – but it hasn’t dampened any spirits yet.
Although chairs were spotted on sidewalks as early as June 22 before last year’s July 4 parade, Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome said that so far, residents have abided by the new chair-decluttering resolution.
“Up to this point, the people have been very respectful to the ordinance that’s been put in place,” he said. “I think they’ve accepted it. Have they adjusted? We won’t know that until 48 hours before the parade.”
Canonsburg Council voted 6-3 last October to implement the policy regulating the tradition of using chairs to save parade-watching spots. The ordinance states that chairs cannot be placed along sidewalks until 6 a.m. July 2. Any violation of the policy will result in the chairs being removed and taken to the borough’s public safety garage, where they can be retrieved by their owners.
The measure was a response to safety concerns last year, like chairs being blown into oncoming traffic and chairs that were taped, chained or strung together, creating an obstacle course for pedestrians.
Rhome stressed that the new policy was strictly “for the safety of the community.”
The policy was also a compromise made with local residents after a Facebook page created last year called “Save the Canonsburg parade chairs” prompted debate.
The 51st annual parade will still maintain its proud chair tradition. The chair decorating contest will again be held, with prizes will be awarded on July 3 to the “most patriotic” and “most original” decorative chairs along the parade route.
The July 4 celebration will also feature the 29th annual Whiskey Rebellion 5K race in the morning, swimming, rock climbing, musical entertainment and skydivers.
Chris Mary, former head coach of Canon-McMillan High School’s state champtionship wrestling team, will be the grand marshal for the parade.
The evening will conclude at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks produced by Pyrotecnico, weather permitting. If it rains, fireworks will be set off July 6.