Santa Claus is coming to town!

Lans­dale hosts an­nual Mardi Gras pa­rade

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Amanda Pic­cir­illi apic­cir­illi@jour­nalregis­ter.com

For those who were look­ing to get into the hol­i­day spirit, there was a chance that last Satur­day’s fes­tiv­i­ties in Lans­dale did the trick.

Mardi Gras mad­ness hit the main drag in Lans­dale Satur­day af­ter­noon, as the bor­ough held its 62nd an­nual Mardi Gras pa­rade. Float af­ter float and band af­ter band, the streets were splashed in hol­i­day col­ors as the “Jin­gle All the Way Down Main Street” theme echoed through the build­ings.

“If you grew up in Lans­dale, you know this is the thing to be at,” said Knights For Life board mem­ber Laura Smith. “If you’re not in the pa­rade, you’re at the pa­rade.”

Smith and the rest of the Knights For Life, as well as the rest of the 60-plus groups par­tic­i­pat­ing, were sta­tioned along Lans­dale’s side streets, get­ting them­selves and their ve­hi­cles pre­pared for the mile-long pa­rade route.

“I think set­ting up is pos­si­bly more ex­cit­ing than the ac­tual pa­rade it­self,” said Smith. “The smiles and ex­cite­ment on chil­dren’s faces is amaz­ing and this is why we are here, for them.”

Along Delaware and Perkiomen av­enues sat dozens of kids, in­clud­ing the Lans­dale Can­noneers youth foot­ball and cheer­lead­ing squads. Vice Pres­i­dent Scott Long has been a part of the Lans­dale Mardi Gras pa­rade for nearly 20 years.

“I’m not here for my­self, I’m here for the kids,” said Long.

With the girls wear­ing their white cheer­leader uni­forms and the boys in their kelly green jer­seys, more than 30 kids filled the back of the truck, which had cham­pi­onship ban­ners bor­der­ing the whole ve­hi­cle. Two cheer squads were un­able to make it, which in­cluded the Lans­dale Can­noneers 145-pound Cheer Squad. The team was earn­ing first place at the East­ern Re­gion Cham­pi­onships in Tren­ton, N.J., dur­ing the pa­rade. It has ad­vanced to na­tion­als in Walt Dis­ney World.

“The kids love this and get so ex­cited,” said Long. “We want to show the com­mu­nity all of our ac­com­plish­ments, let them know who we are and to give our spon­sor recog­ni­tion be­cause they do so much for us.”

Sit­ting in the back of the truck was Rylee Earle, 8, of Soud­er­ton. She has been cheer­ing for four years with the Can­noneers.

“I love be­ing able to wave and give candy to peo­ple,” she said when asked what is her fa­vorite part of the pa­rade. “Cheer­ing is a lot of fun — you get to go to a lot of games and cheer on the foot­ball play­ers. [You should join] be­cause it’s a lot of fun and a new ex­pe­ri­ence to try.”

A street over from the Can­noneers crew was the North Penn YMCA Ad­ven­ture Guides, a fa­ther­daugh­ter and fa­ther-son pro­gram that al­lows chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in ac­tiv­i­ties with their fa­thers.

This fa­ther-run group par­tici-

pates in mul­ti­ple ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren ages 5 to 10, with an older di­vi­sion for kids 10 to 14. Some of the events in­clude camp­ing, archery, rocket build­ing and fiVKLnJ.

“In­stead of go­ing with the theme of the pa­rade, we wanted to show the com­mu­nity who we are and what we do,” said cir­cle leader eerb Bow­ers as the Ad­ven­ture GuLGH’V flRDW KDG D WHnW, IDNH FDPS­firH DnG D bRw DnG Dr­row tar­get.

“The kids have an amaz­ing time at the pa­rade and it’s great to see their en­joy­ment,” said Bow­ers. “lnly GLI­fiFuOW WKLnJ LV WHOOLnJ WKHP to not throw the candy too hard where they hurt some­one.”

The Lans­dale Ki­wa­nis Club had an im­pres­sive flRDW, buW LW WRRN HIIRrW IrRP mul­ti­ple peo­ple to ac­com­plish it.

$n 18-wKHHOHr flDWbed truck was cov­ered in wrapped presents, all of which were wrapped by North Penn eigh School Key Club mem­bers. Fake trees were also cre­ated by the club and the Ki­wa­nis COub’V DI­fiOLDWH JrRuS IRr dis­abled adults, Ac­tion Club. Sit­ting in the mid­dle of the set was a 192T Chevy truck owned by late Lans­dale Mayor Mike Di­N­un­zio.

“We’ve been a part of this pa­rade route for 3T years,” said Mike Di­N­un­zio Jr. “We’re happy to show ev­ery­one who we are and what our mis­sion is. It’s amaz­ing what th­ese kids do.”

For nearly two hours, Mardi Gras pa­rade­go­ers sat back and watched as tal­ent- ed kids, busi­nesses, clubs, emer­gency per­son­nel and or­ga­ni­za­tions hit Main Street with bells on, as re­quested for the theme.

The Bux-Mont Bass­mas­ters were in the pa­rade this year, show­cas­ing their JrRuS — D fiVKLnJ FOub HVtab­lished in 1998 for those who en­joy the sport of bDVV fiVKLnJ — DnG WKHLr achieve­ments. Mem­ber Martin Cervera was high­lighted as he was the Penn­syl­va­nia District lne An­gler of the Year.

“We are a bunch of peo­ple wKR OLNH WR fiVK buW wH DrH also into ed­u­cat­ing the youth and teach­ing them about the sport,” said Pres­i­dent Bob Lengyel. “We hosted the Reel Kids Cast­ing Con­test this year and had 238 kids show up. Two of them, a girl and boy, went to the state cham­pi­onship, and the boy ended up win­ning $500 there.”

Pass­ing by in shiny red fire trucks were rep­re­sen- tatives of mul­ti­ple mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. eold­ing ban­ners were lo­cal Scouts and two high school march­ing bands — the North Penn March­ing Knights and the Soud­er­ton Area eigh School Big Red.

First Bap­tist Church in LDnVGDOH KDG D flRDW SRr­tray­ing a Vic­to­rian set­ting with a group eat­ing din­nHr by firHVLGH, DnG IDrWKHr bDFN Rn WKH flRDW, FDrROHrV sang with a woman on a sleigh.

Mater Dei Catholic SFKRRO KDG LWV flRDW GHsigned as a fes­tive town, with a hand-painted town set­ting and hol­i­day trees scat­tered.

Santa made a grand en­trance at the end as the Towa­mencin Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany es­corted the jolly man this year. The fire com­pany trans­formed the truck into a house rooftop, where Santa sat on a sleigh with sev­eral elves.

At left, Santa Claus and his helpers ride on a Towa­mencin Fire Truck as they wave to the crowds along Main Street dur­ing the Lans­dale Mardi Gras Pa­rade Satur­day. Be­low, Alex Miller, front, and the North Penn High School March­ing Knights per­form dur­ing the Lans­dale Mardi Gras Pa­rade. Be­low left, fes­tive clowns wave to the crowd along Main Street dur­ing the Lans­dale Mardi Gras pa­rade.

Above, crowds gather along Main Street dur­ing the Lans­dale Mardi Gras Pa­rade. Left, a cos­tumed dog watches as the Soud­er­ton Area Big Red March­ing Band per­forms. Far right, Cos­tumed toy sol­diers wave to the crowds along Main Street.

Lans­dale Mayor Andy Szekely and his fam­ily wave to the crowd dur­ing the pa­rade.

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