A familiar face will participate in Canonsburg’s annual Fourth of July parade Friday.
Gov. Tom Corbett will walk along the parade’s route, Canonsburg Mayor David H. Rhome confirmed Wednesday.
“He wanted to be a part of our festivities,” Rhome said. “It’s been discussed for several weeks, but it was just confirmed (Wednesday) morning.”
Midway through the parade, Rhome said the governor will be presented with a gift on behalf of the borough’s residents at the viewing stand.
“We are proud and honored to have him attend,” he said.
Rhome said Corbett was in attendance at last year’s festivities. Corbett doesn’t have any connections to Washington County – he’s originally from Shaler Township in Allgheny County – but Rhome said the parade’s status probably attracted him.
“Ours is the second-largest parade in the commonwealth,” Rhome said. “It’s based on the amount of people who attend.”
Between 50,000 and 60,000 people were in attendance last July. Rhome expects that number to jump this year.
“We are expecting 70,000 people due to the fact that it is a three-day weekend,” he said.
Rhome said the Independence Day festivities bring in people from all over the country.
“I was just in town,” Rhome said. “There were people in front of the borough building from Texas, Virginia and Murrysville. They heard about it and wanted to check it out.”
The festivities begin at 7:45 a.m. Friday with a Whiskey Rebellion 5K race, and the parade begins at 10 a.m. Events also will include children’s activities at the park and musical entertainment. Residents began reserving their spaces for the parade with the tradition of placing chairs along the route early Wednesday.
Rhome said this was the second year residents were limited to placing their chairs on the sidewalk no sooner than 48 hours prior to the parade. Safety concerns prompted the change. In previous years, residents placed chairs along the route as many as 12 days in advance and chained them together, limiting access to curbs.
Borough council initially voted to restrict the use of chairs until 6 a.m. on the day of the parade, but that was quickly replaced with the 48-hour ordinance. Rhome and Canonsburg police Chief R.T. Bell said residents were following the new ordinance nicely.
“Everybody seems like they held ground and waited,” Bell said. “But everyone’s getting ready now.”
Rhome said by mid-morning Wednesday, the parade route was lined with plastic, folding and office chairs.
“I really want to congratulate everyone who followed the rules and regulations,” he said. “It’s a very nice celebration, something everyone can be proud of.”