Tradition rolls down the streets in Moshannon Valley

The Philipsburg-Osceola summer band marches through Osceola Mills for the Fourth of July parade Friday.
The Philipsburg-Osceola summer band marches through Osceola Mills for the Fourth of July parade Friday. CDT photo

The weather could not have been more perfect for a parade on Friday.

In Osceola Mills, the annual Fourth of July parade steps off promptly at 11 a.m. every year, rain or shine. There is seldom rain during the parade itself, but there is often the threat in the air.

“People usually have one eye on the sky,” said Sally Christine, of Osceola Mills.

Other years, oppressive heat has had band volunteers spritzing down tuba players and drummers in full wool dress uniforms to keep them as comfortable as possible as they trace their way around town.

But this year, temps hovered in the high 60s around parade time, making for a comfy, party atmosphere on the streets.

On Curtin, Stone, Lingle streets and more, people staked their claims on a piece of curb here, some sidewalk there, maybe this bench in the park. There was a party at what seemed like every house along the parade route. As you walked by, total strangers would smile and ask if you wanted a drink, or how about a hot dog?

But total strangers are hard to find.

“I love coming to see people,” said Christine, who knows she has to have been to at least 40 parades. “I love seeing people I maybe only see once a year, and sometimes family members I didn’t even know were going to be in town.”

There might be family from New York or Virginia, all coming home to experience the biggest thing that the tiny borough does every year.

It was Amy Fishel’s first time at the event. She lives in Claysburg, but has heard about the festivities from her son for years.

“My son told me it’s a big thing, but I didn’t realize just how big it was for a small town,” she said.

For kids, though, the big things are pretty consistent.

Murry Lonesky, 10, was waiting for candy, along with Gabriel Johnston, 31/2. Shaylee Helsel, 18 months, was content to sit on a blanket and look cute in her lacy red, white and blue outfit.

But for Zane Morgan, 22 months, it was all about one thing. Firetrucks.

“He’s been talking about them nonstop all morning,” said stepmother Ashley Thompson.