Millheim parade goes ahead despite heavy downpour, tornado shows | News, Sports, Jobs

AMBER MORRIS/FOR THE EXPRESS People with umbrellas line the streets of Millheim in a torrential downpour to watch the parade.

MILLHEIM — Gray skies loomed over Millheim on Thursday evening as cheering crowds lined the streets ready for the first parade the town has seen since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the fire whistle sounded, signaling the start of the queue, it was almost as if it was also a green light for the impending storm and the raindrops began to fall before the first walkers only reach Fountain Park.

Much of central Pennsylvania was under tornado watch until 11 p.m., but neither that nor the torrential downpour stopped the show.

Area firefighters, ambulances, radio stations and businesses threw candy and despite the conditions, children waded through puddles to fill their bags as if it were a day sunny.

The real soldiers in the parade were those who were not immune.

AMBER MORRIS/FOR THE EXPRESS Charlie Boyer of Coburn tries his hand at the dime pitch.

Boy scouts, tractor drivers, church groups, twirlers, bank clerks and even a Millheim politician running for state representative all were directly exposed to the torrential downpour and did not could have gotten wetter as the water poured from their heads and ran down their noses. .

As the parade drew to a close, the storm seemed to be on the same schedule. When the last tank passed, the storm subsided.

As most people went home to change into dry clothes, the carnival started off a little slow, but it didn’t take long for the grounds to start filling up and soon the funnel cakes were sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon, and dimes were tossed. to the pyramids of fine crystal glassware.

The most important role of the small town “firefighter parties” is obviously to raise money for volunteer fire companies, but the sense of community they provide is just as important.

Getting together with old friends or finding your neighbor and sticking together to catch up, while you watch the festivities, is very valuable. It is grounding. It allows you to appreciate where they are and the simplicity of being happy in the moment.

Millheim’s spirit, their appreciation for the community and the support of their first responders were evident throughout the evening and came through even stronger despite two years of a global pandemic and even the risk of a tornado.

It’s not just the Millheim parade. It is the pride of Millheim.

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