For Connie Bair-Holt, the annual Pleasant Gap Fire Company parade is special.
“They’re a great group and put something really nice on for the community,” she said.
Bair-Holt was the department’s first female firefighter in 1979.
“When I started out, it was a while ago, but I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps, and I was able to.”
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Bair-Holt now lives in Pine Glen but is still a large part of the Pleasant Gap Fire Company. She helps organize special events like the parade and carnival, and is planning for next year’s 100th celebration.
Steve Snook, fire company captain and parade organizer, said the parade has been part of the annual carnival for at least 50 years, attracting about 5,000 people to the community.
“It looks like we always get a good outcome,” he said and added this this is the first in many years that the weather has held out for them. “It’s usually a scorcher or is raining,” he said.
Temperatures in the area were in the mid-70s throughout the day Thursday as 65 groups participated in the parade that started at Pleasant Gap Elementary School, traveled down Main Street, to Mack Avenue, then over to the carnival grounds.
Participants Thursday night included the Bellefonte Band whose members said they were nervous, but excited to be a part of the event.
“We’re nervous, but we’ve been practicing a lot,” said Maddie Castles, 14, of Bellefonte. “We do things like walk around Bellefonte and go up and down the hills to practice.”
She was one of seven Bellefonte Area High School students who were part of the color guard, majorettes and dancers. Others included Sammi Beeler, 15, Christine Dunklebarger, 16, Lizzy Knepp, 14, Courtenaye Kresovich, 17, Shawnea Traxler, 15 and her sister Shawneese Traxler, 16.
Fire Company Executive Officer Tom Shade said money raised during the carnival this week goes toward the fire company. He said the fire company expects to make between $20,000 and $25,000.
The Carnival will continue tomorrow and Saturday. Both days kick off at 4 p.m. with a chicken barbecue.