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Floating balloons to be part of 4th Fest parade

As snow fell throughout the day Monday, organizers of the Central PA 4th Fest planned for large helium balloons to join the summer event’s parade.

This will be the second year a parade will march through downtown State College during the “patriotic birthday party,” as organizers describe the volunteer-heavy event. As was done last year, nominations will be accepted to honor community heroes during the parade.

“It was very well-received,” said marketing Chairman Skip Webster. “This year, it’s going to be more publicized.”

The first new attraction announced for this year’s event is the addition of at least a dozen large balloons in the parade. Webster said the largest are about 15 feet by 35 feet and will include the head of Uncle Sam wearing a red, white and blue top hat, a Lady Liberty figure, and red, white and blue stars.

“It’s going to be like the Macy’s (Thanksgiving) day parade, but down-scaled,” he said.

Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said the group doesn’t need any special permits to float the balloons through downtown. As with most downtown activities, the Borough Council will vote on whether to approve a permit to close the necessary streets for the parade.

About 80 people will be needed to march with the balloons, and the helium to fill them likely will cost a couple thousand dollars. Webster said organizers are still negotiating the balloon rental, and estimated it will cost “in the thousands” to get them to State College for the day.

“We can only put on the event the community supports, because this is an all-volunteer 4th Fest,” he said. “We set aside a certain amount of money for new things and that’s what this is all about.”

To volunteer for this year’s event, contact 4th Fest Executive Director Bernie Keisling at 404-8777 or 4thfest@comcast.net.

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