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Canonsburg parade is old-fashioned fun

Photo of Karen Mansfield
By Karen Mansfield
Staff Writer
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Sydney Hares, 7, and Martin Hares, 9, of Canonsburg are joined by their cousin, Aiden Stankewitz, 6, of Fort Worth, Texas, at the parade. The trio waved on veterans and kept their bags close for candy. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Members of the Canon-McMillan High School basketball team start off the Canonsburg Fourth of July parade Friday. The parade included more than 100 groups. Order a Print
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A parade participant cruises down Pike Street in Canonsburg at the start of the parade, decked out in red, white and blue. The parade brought around 70,000 people on Friday. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
One of the parade participants throws out candy during the parade while riding in a miniature car down the parade route in Canonsburg. Order a Print
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Governor Tom Corbett receives a key to the city from Canonsburg mayor David Rhome during the parade on Friday, July 4. Corbett walked down the parade route amidst several protest signs for public education. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett waves to parade goers as he walks down the parade route in Canonsburg on Friday, July 4th. Order a Print
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Joe Scarci, of Boston, Maryann Phelan, Kristian Brito, Jessica Phelan (all of McMurray) and Jared Feldman and Emmy Phelan of Washington D.C. and dog Fuddy all competed in the 5k before the parade in Canonsburg. The group has come for the third year in the row for the festivities. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Tyler Laurent,3, and sister Abbey Laurent,6, wait patiently for the parade to start with their grandmother Patty DeJohn Laurent of Gibsonia. Patty returned to her hometown of Canonsburg with grandkids in tow to enjoy the parade. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Gracie Homerosky,13, of Lexington, Kentucky gets her face painted by Faith Zwicker,17, of Claysville before the start of the parade. The New Life Church in Canonsburg provided free face painting and hot dogs to the parade crowd. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Debra Ruffing of Washington, places her hand over her heart while saying “Thank you” repeatedly as veterans pass her by during the Canonsburg 4th of July parade. Many parade goers stood and cheered on veterans as they passed by throughout the parade. Order a Print
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Ryan Jarecki, of Canonsburg, holds his 9-month-old son Silas Jarecki during Silas’s first Canonsburg parade as a marching band went by. Order a Print
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Each year on the Fourth of July, Canonsburg Borough, with a population of almost 9,000, turns into one of the most patriotic towns in the country.


Friday was no exception, as an estimated 70,000 paradegoers lined Pike Street, dressed in red, white and blue, waving flags and clapping as 110 units – including more than a dozen floats, marching bands, military vehicles, bag pipers and plenty of classic cars – went through downtown. Kicking off the parade were several police cars and fire trucks.


Even a dog was painted red, white and blue.


Canonsburg’s old-fashioned ode to the Fourth of July is the second biggest parade in the state, and generations of families come back every year.


Longtime Canonsburg residents Phil and Bonnie Belfiore said they haven’t missed a parade in the 57 years since they’ve been married.


“We brought our four children here every year, and we sat down by the post office. I love to see the people who come, and the bands,” said Bonnie.


Angela Heffner of Strabane, a parade veteran, sat on a blanket adorned with stars and stripes, next to a cooler filled with snacks and beverages to munch on during the 2 ½ hour parade.


“I love this parade. On a scale of one to 10, I give it a 10,” said Heffner, who requested off work to attend.


Richard Zimmerman, a member of the Masonic Lodge in Canonsburg, said he marched in parades for dozens of years as a Shriner, and the Canonsburg parade was always among the group’s favorites.


“Canonsburg, Ligonier and Brentwood are the three places marchers like to mark. People are very supportive here,” said Zimmerman. “The people of Canonsburg are so generous. It’s not unusual for paradegoers to hand you water on a hot day, or if you looked like you needed a drink.”


At the grandstand, Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome presented a key to the borough to Gov. Tom Corbett, who walked the parade route and was the last entrant in the parade.


Corbett’s appearance got a mixed response. Some paradegoers heckled him at the beginning of the route, but supporters walked onto the street to shake his hand and wish him well.


“For the most part, residents were respectful of his position. Any time the governor comes to your town, I’d want people to be respectful of the position,” said Rhome. “That’s why we celebrate today: you have the right to your own opinion and you can express your likes and dislikes with our leadership.”


The festivities began at 7:45 with the Whiskey Rebellion race, which winds through Canonsburg.


Members of the Scarci family, originally from Canonsburg, run the race, attend the parade, get together for picnic and then were scheduled to cap off the night at the stadium, where they watch fireworks.


“I’ve been away for 20 years, but I come back every year for the Fourth,” said Joe Scarci, who lives in Boston.


Jessica Phelan, who is related to Scarci, and her fiancé, Kristian Brito, also ran. Brito carried an American flag throughout the race.


“It’s a great parade. It’s a pride thing,” said Phelan. “It just feels good that we have something that distinguishes our town, and it brings us together to celebrate such a great holiday.”


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