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Vandergrift parade slips in between rain

November 18, 2018

Vandergrift residents had a message for Mother Nature.

Don’t rain on our parade.

And she didn’t.

Borough residents, decked out in their spookiest and cutest Halloween garb, braved the chilly temps during the annual Vandergrift Halloween Parade on Saturday.

“It quit raining just in time,” said longtime parade organizer and volunteer firefighter Ashleigh Hannigan.

New this year was a pop-up pumpkin patch decorating event held immediately after the parade inside the VFD No. 1 firehouse.

Sponsored by the Vandergrift Parent Project, the pumpkin patch was originally scheduled for outside but the weather forecast had organizers moving the festivities indoors.

Youngsters decorated real pumpkins to take home with them, received candy from the firemen and checked out the firetrucks.

A collaborative effort among Vandergrift’s VFD No. 1 and No. 2, VPP and the borough, the event relies on monetary donations from area businesses.

Hannigan said the parade is eagerly attended by hundreds of kids, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

VPP organized in May with a goal of providing events and activities for Vandergrift youth, with an emphasis on sprucing up Franklin Park.

“We have raised about $500 of our $20,000 five-year fundraising plan,” said VPP co-founder Shannon Gourley. “We are raising money to improve Franklin Park and we eventually would like to add a spray park in Vandergrift for the community.”

The event is free, but donations benefiting VPP were accepted.

Steady rain forced organizers to cancel the planned outdoor obstacle course.

Amy and Matt Crawford of Vandergrift brought their Corgi pup, Shelby, to watch the parade.

“This is why I like living in a small town,” Matt Crawford said. “I like seeing the community come together to do things like this.”

Cash prizes were awarded to five participants -- competing in categories that included most original, cutest, scariest and best group costume.

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