Kittanning Halloween Parade Continuing Long Tradition

Hundreds of costumed Halloweeners are expected in this year's Kittanning Halloween Parade Thursday, Oct. 27. Coordinated through Kittanning Hose Company #1, the evening will not only feature walkers and floats, but also a giant emoji pinata and dance party (KP File Photo).

Hundreds of costumed Halloweeners are expected in this year’s Kittanning Halloween Parade Thursday, Oct. 27. Coordinated through Kittanning Hose Company #1, the evening will not only feature walkers and floats, but also a giant emoji pinata and dance party (KP File Photo).

by Jonathan Weaver

Fresh off trick-or-treating Wednesday night, Kittanning Borough streets will be filled with Halloween fun Thursday night.

Hose Company #1 Fire Chief Gene Stephens said his son and other firehouse children will throw candy from firetrucks as they lead festivities. He said firefighters buy candy via Obade Candy Company, Inc. – just a few blocks from the fire station.

“Whatever (costume) you can think of, it’s here,” Chief Stephens said. “Some years, it seems like you have a lot of kids. Others, it’s a little bit less. I think a lot of that depends on the weather.”

Chief Stephens also was welcoming of families from outside of Kittanning to join in.

“It’s for the kids – I can’t tell where they come from. They come up for a piece of candy, I don’t care where they live or how old they are, Chief Stephens said.

“Everybody’s welcome to come – anybody can attend.”

As well as $1 being given to each costumed participant, cash prizes will be given out to the top two float entries – $250 for first place, $100 for second place thanks to donations from the Kittanning Men’s Club and Kittanning Eagles.

“With what Bugsy’s and the fire department put together with more prize money toward the floats, maybe they’ll be more,” Chief Stephens said. “There’s no theme – make whatever you want to make. Whatever you want to make your float up as, do it.”

Following the annual parade, South Jefferson Street will remain closed so that kids can try to break open a piñata and dance along to the beats of DJ Kevin Kline.

On the busiest day of the year, Bugsy’s Pizza will also be helping out with festivities again this year.

Bugsy’s Pizza Owner Jeff Bowser said Halloween is “one of my favorite holidays.”

“We’re doing a giant piñata again – there’s probably going to be close to 300 pounds of candy in it,” Bowser said. “Plus, there’s going to be a total of 225 (treat bags) by the time we’re done.”

Bowser said this year’s piñata will be an emoji.

Last year, there were five small piñatas, but it posed dangerous to some kids.

In 2003, various athletes’ on the Kittanning Senior High varsity football team took turns whacking a piñata that resembled the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Then-Kittanning Wildcat football Senior Linebacker Shawn Shaner and Starting Quarterback Braydon Toy knocked most of the candy lose for waiting children.

John Graff Insurance Agency, Quad A Tire and H&R Block all donated proceeds for candy.

The junior high football team will conduct a party after the parade at Hose Company #1’s firehall.

Chief Stephens said firefighters from all three Kittanning fire departments will patrol the borough streets during trick-or-treating.

Borough residents who wish to participate in trick-or-treating are asked to turn on porch lights to denote participation and safety.

Kittanning Borough Council President Kim Fox has fond memories of walking through the Halloween parade and even picking out penny candy from Krum’s Market on Union Avenue.

“I absolutely do – I actually lived on Jefferson Street, and did the Halloween parade every year,” Fox said. “If we weren’t in it, we would watch from our upstairs window, but usually I was in the parade.

“Absolutely loved it – trick-or-treat was one of my favorite nights. Still is.”

Now along Hawthorne Avenue, Fox is looking forward to passing out candy in her witch costume and with her dog, in a shark costume.

She praised police officers and firefighters the night of trick-or-treating for their diligent patrol of neighborhood children.

Two years ago, Hose Company #1 Treasurer Earl Kline said that 19 floats or costumes were awarded top cash prizes.

More than $500 in prizes were ultimately awarded for those individuals and groups judged best in their respective categories, with final judging in a staging area inside the firehall to provide safety of participants and those watching the parade.

Chief Stephens hoped one year to be able to attend Ford City’s Halloween parade – which also is held Thursday evening.

The parade begins at 7PM rain-or-shine in front on the Kittanning Hose Company #1 fire station on South Jefferson Street.


Leechburg Transforming Into Annual Halloween-burg!

Judy Povias holds the ladder while Betty Smail hangs the first spider web from a utility pole in Leechburg in preparation for the Halloween holiday festivities.

Judy Povias holds the ladder while Betty Smail hangs the first spider web from a utility pole in Leechburg in preparation for the Halloween holiday festivities.

by David Croyle

While families travel to find exceptional Halloween activities in Armstrong County, one of the best-kept secrets may just be in Leechburg.

The town is being transformed into next week’s three-day celebration called “Halloweenburg!”

The event is just one of many seasonal activities coordinated by LACA – the Leechburg Area Community Association. The group started out as a business organization; however today, it recruits massive participation from business, retired professionals, and high schoolers.

Betty Smail from Gilpin Township is a long-time volunteer who formerly worked at First National Bank of Leechburg and First Commonwealth.

“Being a banker here in town, we did whatever needed be done in our community. I have been helping out the community ever since its conception. I have helped since day one,” she said.

Judy Provias owns an antiques/collectibles store in town called “La Dee Dah”. She is thrilled with the participation of local individuals in the group.

“Anything that will help the town and bring people into Leechburg and make people realize it is a kewl town,” Provias said. “We all just throw in our opinions and see what we come up with. There’s no actual one person in charge. One lady was up at one of the stores and found (decorations) dirt cheap and we said, ‘Let’s use this’. We made ghosts!”  

Provias said she is looking forward to the scarecrow contest. Another volunteer, Paula Henry, said the contest is already in full swing. There is a $10 entry fee. A bale of hay is provided and the business owner or resident decorates the scarecrow.

“We had a contest with the kids in the school – fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. They wrote an essay as to why they would like to be Mayor of Halloweenburg. We go through their essays and pick out five kids. One kid will be the mayor and the other four will be the council members. We take pictures of the scarecrows and put them on a PowerPoint presentation. The kids have a council meeting on October 26 in the borough building and they vote on the scarecrows based on the pictures. The winner wins $100 prize.”

Halloweenburg is scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – October 27-29.

The community kicks off the event on Thursday, October 27 at 7PM with its annual Halloweenburg Parade. Judging begins at 6PM in the Leechburg Fire Hall parking lot and the parade starts at 7. An open invitation is extended to anyone who wishes to be in the parade including adults, children, pets, fire companies, ambulance services, ghosts, and witches. Also the Halloweenburg “mayor and council members” will be riding in the parade.

Thursday night is also the famous Pumpkin Carving Contest. Those individuals wishing to be contestants bring their carved jack-o-lantern to the “Weenie Wagon” (a wagon where hot dogs are sold) located in the Klingensmith parking lot at 153 Market Street. Judging begins at 8PM.

On Friday night, a Halloweenburg Bingo Game is planned at the fire hall. For a donation of $20, participants receive one lap board and a buffet dinner. The doors open at 5:30 and dinner is served at 6:15 PM. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

Saturday moves Halloweenburg into the daylight hours, beginning at 10AM with the Pumpkin Trail. According to Henry, the three-hour event hosts over 400 children each year who go door-to-door to local businesses.

“It’s where the kids go store to store from 10 till 1. We are handing out fliers to all the students in elementary school telling them all of the participating businesses. There will be cards in all those businesses that they can pick up. They get the card, then they turn it in for a chance to win a prize. Then the kids all get a hot dog and a drink down at the firemen’s lot (truck garage).

Henry said there are various prizes including a 3-foot box of art supplies.

“There’s also a Paint Party at the Leechburg Library from 12:30 till 2:30,” Henry said. “It’s sponsored by Market Street Art.” 

Another activity is a Scavenger Hunt from 1:00-3:00 PM in the firemen’s lot that culminates with a $50 prize. Various vendors will also be setup in the lot for purchase of items.

The next holiday event will be a kick-off to the Christmas Season with “Luminate Leechburg”. It is an all-day activity that begins at 10AM on Saturday, November 26 with various groups participating in musical concerts and other events. It concludes with a Christmas Parade at 5PM.

“Last year, they did gingerbread houses and you could have your picture taken with Santa. It’s also has a Small Business Saturday emphasis,” Henry said. 

If anyone wants to participate in LACA activities, you are welcome to call Paula Henry at 724-845-7097.