The City of Allentown was the big winner during the Points of Pride Parade and Festival, which celebrated the 250th anniversary of the founding of Allentown, held on Saturday, September 29th. Thousands of people lining Hamilton Street were treated to a fantastic parade and Community Festival. The parade proceeded down Hamilton from 17th Street to 9th Street and featured seventeen marching bands and 16 floats, along with nearly 2500 people marching in the event.
Each division of the parade represented a 50-year period of Allentown’s future, with the final division representing the future.
“What a great day for Allentown,” said Mayor Pawlowski. “The turnout was amazing. The parade and festival were a huge success, and I can’t thank the organizing committee enough for all their hard work, as well as the partners and all the volunteers. They all did a fantastic job, and the whole weekend will go down as one of the greatest celebrations in our history.”
Former Dieruff H.S. and Buffalo Bills star Andre Reed served as Emcee during Opening Ceremonies at William Allen High School as well as the start of the festival. The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps – the premier band of the U.S. Army – kicked off the Opening Ceremony, which also featured the William Allen High School Chorales’ signature version of the Star Spangled Banner.
Grand Marshals of the parade were 97-year-old Margaret “Peg” Brennen and 87-year-old Stephen “Doc” Blaschak who were chosen for their families’ contributions to the history of Allentown.
The Community Festival, which immediately followed the end of the parade, featured over 100 community organizations and vendors, as well as live music at three different entertainment venues. One of the artists, Barte Shadlow, debuted new, updated and upbeat lyrics of the Billy Joel song, “Allentown,” to a raucous and appreciative response from the audience.
The “Celebration Weekend” began on Thursday, September 27th with a Peace and Prosperity Ecumenical Service, followed by a Hess’s Hollywood on Hamilton Restaurant Night on the 28th and concluded with the Points of Pride Parade and Community Festival on the 29th.
A dozen bands, community organizations and businesses received prize money for their award-winning performances in the parade.
The following were voted parade prize winners:
1. Kutztown University ($500)
2. Parkland High School ($300)
3. William Allen High School ($200)
1. Lehigh Valley Child Care ($500)
2. Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum ($250)
2. Zion’s “Liberty Bell” Church and Museum ($250)
Best Representation of a Historical Event
1. Zion’s “Liberty Bell” Church and Museum ($500)
2. U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps ($300)
3. Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum ($200)
Most Allentown Pride
1. Allentown Public Library ($500)
2. William Allen High School ($300)
3. The Burning Hearts ($200)