The Lion’s Club annual Halloween parade has been a Waynesburg tradition for years. Some parents who saw their children walk in the parade are now seeing their grandchildren do the same.
Bill Harding, 68, has lived in Greene County his entire life, with the last 40 years spent in the Waynesburg area. Harding has also come to the last 40 parades. In that time, he’s watched his son and, more recently, his grandchildren take part in the parade.
“Tradition is what keeps communities together,” Harding said. “It gives me hope for the future, because a lot of the kids will want to stay here.”
Harding’s son, Billy Harding, 35, was in middle and high school he was part of the drum line for the marching band; now he’s the borough councilman for Ward one. Billy Harding also sees how the annual parade helps grow the community in many different ways.
“It’s great for economic growth in downtown and for just for keeping it family-oriented community I think that’s very important,” Billy Harding said. “It’s important to have these community events and to have the kids involved and let them grow with a sense of community.”
5 Kidz Kandy saw the benefits of the parade in doorbell rings. According to Kristy Vliet, 45, business pick up more than usual about an hour before the parade starts. She has been with the 5 Kidz for four years now, and said people will come in the following days after the parade to get something they may have not gotten on parade day.
“Sometimes they’ll come back for things they noticed something and they have their kids with them and they want to pick it up for Christmas,” Vliet said.
5 Kidz will even see an increase of people coming in to stay warm during a chilly October night. Beverages and food such as hot chocolate, coffee and soup give 5 Kidz extra revenue on the day, leading them to stay open later than normal.
For others, the parade is deep reminder of community for Waynesburg. Erma Steinmiller, 77, has lived in Greene County her entire life. She, like Bill Harding, has watched two generations of her family participate.
“I think it’s great for the community and all the children to have something safe and secure and the lions club does a great job,” Steinmiller said.
Billy Harding believes the parade is more than enough evidence Waynesburg is one of the greatest places to live.
“I get to see my daughter now [take part in the parade] and raise my family in [the] Waynesburg borough,” Billy Harding said. “I still think it’s one of the best places in the country to raise a family.”