The Daly family is relatively new to the Meadville Halloween Parade experience.
Amanda Daly said she and her husband, Eric, and their six children have only been attending the parade together as a family for about the last two years.
Yet, they’ve already learned that to get a good seat, it’s usually best to get there early.
Not long before the start of Saturday’s 45th annual parade, the Dalys were snuggled up in their coats and blankets, rain ponchos at the ready, waiting in the line of chairs they had placed in “their spot” some six hours earlier.
“There are normally a lot of people down here,” said Amanda, stationed with her clan near the intersection of North and Market streets just in front of Lang Motors. “Last year, there were so many people on this side, we had to sit across the road. So we had our seats down here around noon or 1 o’clock this afternoon.”
The Daly family, of Meadville, isn’t the only family to stake out its ideal spot hours before the parade’s start. Several people along the parade route talked of how it is not unusual to see chairs lined up even as early as 5 a.m.
Of course, Meadville’s Halloween Parade is known as the largest nighttime parade in Pennsylvania. Sometimes, that’s what it takes.
And this year’s parade proved to be another huge success.
“I think it went really well,” parade co-chair Meghan Cressman said. “We had a slight hiccup internally where we lost the judges, but we really had zero issues.”
Cressman said there were early concerns about traffic following a fatal accident Saturday afternoon that closed a large portion of State Route 322 and State Route 102. But she said all participants and spectators were able to get downtown in time for the parade.
“It’s fun,” said Summer Daly, 11, who was most looking forward to seeing the Zem Zem Shriners cars buzz by.
“We come out for the kids,” Amanda Daly said. “We enjoy whatever the kids enjoy.”
The Daly family set up camp in the new “Siren-Free-Zone” which began at the intersection of North and Market streets and ended at the intersection of Market and Walnut streets.
Spectators in that area were a bit sparse, but it is unknown if that was a result of the newly implemented quiet zone or the unpredictable weather forecast for the night.
It wound up being a decent night weather-wise. Temper-atures were in the mid-30s, but it stayed dry.
“We all went and bought ponchos,” Amanda Daly said. “That was a waste. … But I guess that’s OK.”
The theme for the 45th annual Halloween Parade was “Through the Ages.” Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community won the trophy for Grand Champion float for the second straight year. The enormous float titled “Wesbury’s Time Machine” featured everything from astronauts to a giant green dinosaur.
The parade, sponsored by the Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce, featured a total of 133 entries, including more than a dozen fire departments, local royalty and five marching bands, including Titusville High School, which made its first appearance at the parade.
Linesville took first place in the band competition. Conneaut Valley was second and Titusville finished third.
Girl Scout Troop 100 took the trophy for top youth float. The non-profit float winner was Living Waters Church. The commercial winner was Team Lake Auto.
Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.