Darla Harris took out her iPhone, snapped a photo of the fire trucks going by and texted longtime friend Rosemary Sebert.
“Remember this?” the text message said with the photo attached.
The 74-year-old grandma said she was just capturing memories of the Pleasant Gap Fire Company’s annual parade for Sebert, a Pleasant Gap native who now lives out of the area.
Harris said she remembers setting up chairs along South Main Street with her two young sons, Eric and John, for the parade in the 1970s. Her neighbor, Sebert, would accompany them with her two sons as well.
Never miss a local story.
More than 30 years later, the Harris brothers are now taking their children to the event they grew up with.
“It was tradition. We lived around the corner and set up everything and I guess we’re still going,” Eric Harris said. “It’s one of those small-town things you do as a family and community, and give back to (the) men and women who serve us.”
The parade has been a staple in the community for more than 50 years, and it arrives with the annual carnival. Its mission is to help raise money for the fire company, said Rick Meyers, company president.
He said it annually raises $15,000 to $20,000, of which will help pay for a $700,000 engine rescue that was purchased last year, and another ambulance.
The parade was led by members of the Centre Hall Lions Club, who marched the streets with an American flag as wide as the road. The Bellefonte marching band, majorettes and cheer squad followed, along with fire apparatuses that had passengers throwing candy to onlookers.
When a handful of candy was thrown to children waiting on the sidewalk, Malayna Kuhlman, 3, took a step from her seat over the edge of the grass to the road to pick up a pack of Twizzlers. She brought a plastic bag with her to collect the treats.
The Nittany Wildland Firefighters drove a truck that featured Smokey Bear. And the oldest vehicle was a 1928 Chevy that was once a school bus converted into a truck, said George Harter, of the Nittany Antique Machinery Association in Centre Hall.
He drove along with Steve Welch and L.T. Rote, who played a calliope that was purchased in the early 1970s. Rote said he’s been playing the gas-powered instrument, similar to an organ, for 76 years.
The trio travels to other fireman’s parades around Centre and Clinton counties with the antique truck and organ.
The carnival started Wednesday and lasts through Saturday night. Fireworks on Saturday will help celebrate the fire company’s 100th anniversary.
Hybrid Ice, a rock band from Danville, will also perform 7 p.m. Saturday at the carnival grounds off Robinson Lane, according to the band’s website.