By Konstantine Fekos
The sponsors have spoken — Meadville’s 2013 Halloween Parade will be themed for all manner of caped crusaders and men of steel, while the traditional parade route will go up, up and away.
Members of the Crawford Area Young Chambers of Commerce held their second annual June gathering at the Safari Bar Thursday evening, organized to thank major parade sponsors and encourage future participation by letting them vote on the year’s theme.
Attending sponsors chose “Superheroes” in a landslide vote over “Circus on Parade” and “Movies Come to Life.”
Representatives for local agencies also had the chance to submit their nominations for parade grand marshal, which CAYCC members expect to vote on next month. CAYCC officers plan to hold the parade on its usual fourth Saturday in October, which this year is Oct. 26.
As a result of the North Street construction, CAYCC officers announced an alternative parade route, lining up on South Main Street and looping around Diamond Park toward Chestnut Street.
The parade route will then travel down Market Street, past the Market House where judges will be stationed as usual, according to Erin Struchen, parade co-chair, who says the end is not yet in sight.
“Ideally, the parade will end near the Penn Plaza, but it might have to stop at the Downtown Mall,” she said.
“It’s going to be interesting,” said Tim Geibel, CAYCC president, “but it will be a good route. We’re hoping people who usually set up their chairs around 6 a.m. that day will remember the route’s going to change.”
Also new this year is CAYCC’s partnership with a nonprofit organization, in this case, the area Make A Wish Foundation, which will work with and support the Young Chamber in its parade efforts.
“The parade is such a huge event,” Geibel said, expecting at least 10,000 spectators to attend the parade, as per its yearly average. “We’re trying to capture that energy and exposure and use it to raise awareness for a nonprofit agency.”
The CAYCC expects to choose a different organization to benefit from parade proceeds each year. The Make A Wish Foundation in particular has had a considerable presence in the parade, often featuring a float with children who’ve gotten their wishes.
All parade proceeds going to the Make A Wish Foundation will benefit one or more children in Crawford County, Struchen said.
Formerly known as the Junior Chambers of Commerce, The CAYCC is an independent, public organization — made up of volunteer members between the ages of 21 and 40 — which, through a variety of community engagements, “exists to provide a network for career-minded individuals to develop socially, civically and professionally” in and around Crawford County, according to the group’s official mission statement.
Doing that — and presenting events like the annual Halloween Parade — takes a lot of help, input and support from local businesses and civic communities.
Parade registration will be available online as early as August, according to CAYCC officers.
n More information: Visit meadvillehalloweenparade.com or caycc.org.
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.