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Reading’s 275th Anniversary parade to include marching bands and more

Reading’s year-long 275th anniversary celebration will continue with a parade Sunday on Penn Street.

The spectacle will begin at Second and Penn streets at 10 a.m. and advance eastward, ending at noon in City Park.

A viewing area with bleachers will be set up on North Fifth and Penn streets. Local radio celebrities Hamilton Newton and Leah Tyler will be stationed on Penn Square and will announce the parade entrants and offer commentary.

Grand marshals the Reading High School boys’ basketball team, will lead a lineup that includes local and state elected officials, Reading and Exeter High School marching bands, Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center students, Reading Royals professional ice hockey team, McGinty Motorcars classic and antique autos, Reading Pride, Rajah Shrine Legion of Honor and the Reading Fire Department.

The 2023 state championship-winning basketball team is celebrating an anniversary of its own as it enters its 125th season this year.

The team has won three state championships since 2017.

One of the oddest entries may be the city’s legendary Stoneman Willie.

The mummy kept at Theo C. Auman Funeral Home, 327 Penn Street since 1895 will be driven in a hearse, giving locals a chance to pay their respects before the burial set for Oct. 7.

Willie, whose real name is not known, will be led by a New Orleans-style jazz band headed by local composer and musician Chris Heslop.

Reading’s legendary Stoneman Willie finally to be laid to rest

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Reading has a long tradition of marking special occasions with parades down Penn Street, and the custom played a big role in the city’s landmark anniversary celebrations of 1898, 1923, 1948 and 1998.

Now the fourth largest city in the state, Reading was incorporated as a municipality on March 16, 1748.

The site on the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River in what is now Berks County was home to the native Lenape people prior to European settlement.

An industrial powerhouse in the mid-19th century, Reading was renowned for its namesake railroad, once the largest corporation in the world, and remains home to parade sponsor Carpenter Technology Corp., a Fortune 500 company.

The city also has been home to a number of literary and cultural figures, as well as minor league sports franchises and the 109-year-old Reading Symphony Orchestra.

The population of 95,112, as of the 2020 U.S. census, includes many immigrants and generations of immigrants’ descendants, representing more than 45 nationalities.

Following the parade, Bring the Change will host the Berks Cultural Diversity Festival in City Park. The festival from noon to 6 p.m. will feature cultural performances, food trucks, an international game section, local vendors and educational information and activities exploring diversity in the city.

Admission is free.

Screenings of a documentary providing a contemporary look at the history and legends of Reading and the rest of Berks County will take place at R/C Reading Movies 11 & IMAX 1, 2:30, 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m.

The film, “From the River,” was written by Tracey Schott and produced by Schott Productions.

Starting at 8 a.m. on parade day, Penn Street will be closed to traffic from Second Street to City Park, as will Fifth Street between Court and Cherry streets.

Police officers will be on Penn Street at the intersections of Third, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Ninth streets to direct traffic across the parade route.

The Penn Street Bridge will be open to traffic. A detour will direct vehicles to Franklin Street to enter downtown.

Those coming into the city from points east should use Chestnut or Washington Street to get downtown.

The Reading Parking Authority will offer free parking on parade day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fourth and Cherry streets garage and the South Penn garage and lot in the 600 block of Cherry Street.

In the case of inclement weather, the parade may be canceled by announcement made by 7 a.m.

There is no rain date.

For up-to-date information, visit the City of Reading 275th Anniversary Facebook page.

Source: Berkshire mont

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