Kids seize the day — and the candy — at Osceola Mills Independence Day parade

For the CDTJuly 5, 2013 

— For some people, the Fourth of July is about fireworks and speeches about independence and patriotism. In Osceola Mills, a quick look around tells you that it’s a day that’s all about children.

Children in red, white and blue outfits were everywhere as they lined the streets, waiting for the annual Columbia Fire Company parade to wind through town.

Ask any of them what they are waiting for, and the answer is the same. “Candy!” they say, bags in hand.

On Lingle Street, Laura Mentzer’s five-year-old twins, Madison and Marissa, were in their star-spangled best, with sparkly antenna headbands.

“I love to see all the kids having fun,” said the Hawk Run mom. “It’s really a day for family.”

For Justise Hertlein, 9, candy was the first thought, but she was also excited to see the floats and marching bands.

Sister Jayna, 5, shook her braided hair. No, she was just waiting for Tootsie Rolls and Twizzlers.

Lance Evans, of Houtzdale, is a firefighter.

He is usually behind the wheel of a firetruck for the parade, but a new job is demanding more of his time this summer, so he took the time off to watch from the sidelines this year with sons Landyn, 7, and Deakon, 3, helping them score freeze pops from some floats and collecting candy from others.

“I come because of my kids. They love to see the floats,” Evans said. “They love to see the parade. They love to enjoy the festivities.”

Landyn’s favorite part of the parade had nothing to do with sugar. It was when his dad flagged down the Houtzdale Fire Company engine and got the driver to let his boys crawl up on the front of the truck for a minute.

His big smile said it all.

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