Dave Astry

Dave Astry

Meadville's largest parade, the annual nighttime Halloween parade, only takes place thanks to the efforts of the Crawford Young Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year's parade is at 6:30 Oct. 26, stepping off from South Main Street, looping around Diamond Park and continuing down Chestnut Street to Market Street past the Market House. This year's proceeds benefit the Crawford County Historical Society, CAYCC President Dave Astry said.

With the parade a little more than two weeks away, we checked in with Astry to see how things are going.

Q: What is your role in the Crawford Young Area Chamber of Commerce and how did you get involved?

A: Currently, I serve as president for the Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce (CAYCC) and co-chair of the Meadville Halloween Parade. I learned of the organization shortly after moving to Meadville in 2012 and quickly became involved.

Q: What is the organization about and what does it do that you find worthwhile?

A: The CAYCC is a networking group and service organization for young professionals. We aim to retain and attract young leaders to Crawford County and engage our membership in the community through a number of service initiatives. 

Q: The group is probably best known for its Halloween parade. Tell us about how much planning goes on behind the scenes.

A: A lot! Believe it or not, we begin the planning process in January. Our members and volunteers work many hours in the months leading up to the parade. It requires extensive collaboration and support from not only our group but also our community partners. The Meadville Halloween Parade is by far our largest undertaking. 

Q: What do you think makes the parade so meaningful to this community and what is special about it, and what can viewers expect this year?

A: Now in its 53rd year, we believe that the Meadville Halloween Parade is one of our community's greatest traditions. It is free to all spectators and truly something that countless families and individuals look forward to attending. With this year's theme, "Hollywood in Meadville," parade-goers can certainly expect to be dazzled by lights, cameras and lots of action.

Q: Are there any other projects the group has coming up?

A: Yes, we organize and host a number of events in addition to the Halloween Parade. Every 6 months, we host a get-together for all local young professionals. Our next edition of "An Evening Out" is scheduled for Nov. 12 (location TBD). We also run a Christmas tree pickup in January that covers the entire city of Meadville. Last year, we picked up nearly 200 trees. If anyone would like more information about the CAYCC, be sure to check us out on Facebook.

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