The force was with the Penns Valley community Thursday night during the eighth annual Penns Valley Area homecoming parade.
With a “Star Wars” theme, members of school clubs and community organizations marched and rode on floats during a lap around the Grange fairgrounds.
District executive assistant and homecoming organizer Shelly Weaver said the senior class voted on the “Star Wars” theme last spring.
The parade was led by Boy Scout Pack 88 from Millheim and Pack 20 from Centre Hall who assisted the Centre Hall Lions Club, followed by grand marshal Bobby Musser, of the 2006 graduating class; floats from townships, local fire companies and businesses; extracurricular activity groups; athletic teams; elementary schools; cheerleaders; marching band members; and class king and queen nominees.
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Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair Queen Alyssa Woomer was also included in the parade.
Weaver said about 500 district students from kindergarten to 12th grade participated.
The parade, followed by a pep rally at the grandstand, was the highlight of homecoming week that will end with a football game 7 p.m. Friday against Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School.
The queen will be crowned during halftime of the football game.
“Every year I am amazed at the amount of people that come,” Weaver said. “We have several community groups that do food booths and we love that our homecoming parade is unique.”
Spirit week kicked off Monday with clone day, where students picked a friend to dress like twins with; Tuesday called for students to dress as aliens; Wednesday was “Chewbacca Gone Wild,” also known as “Crazy Hair Day”; “Throwback Thursday” gave a chance for students to dress from their favorite decade; and Friday is blue-and-white school colors day.
Students districtwide also participated in a door-decorating contest.
Weaver said students and teachers decorated classroom doors with the “Star Wars” theme, and community members judged them Tuesday.
The winning doors will receive a pizza party, donated by Papa John’s Pizza on South Atherton Street in State College, and an ice cream party donated by Burkholder’s Country Market in Millheim.