“Don’t make any plans Oct. 28.”
That’s what Derek Leibensperger, parade co-chairman, told the crowd of about 100 who attended a meeting on the fate of this year’s King Frost Parade.
It wasn’t a guarantee that the parade, scheduled for Oct. 28, would take place — that decision won’t come until later this week, organizers said — but the hope is that the strong showing Monday night would lead to the volunteer numbers needed to keep the nearly 60-year tradition alive.
“Our full intention is to have a parade this year,” Leibensperger said.
The parade’s future has been in question since organizers announced last week that it would be canceled this year — and possibly ended for good — due to lack of volunteers.
That cancellation was reconsidered after the announcement prompted a wave of volunteer interest, leading to Monday’s meeting at Leibensperger Funeral Home, where organizers fielded questions and provided more information on volunteering with the parade.
“We don’t want to cancel the parade,” Leibensperger said. “We just need help.”
He said the issue was one of safety — the parade has operated with a skeleton crew of as few as a half-dozen volunteers in recent years, creating concerns about maintaining barricades and ensuring traffic doesn’t put parade-goers at risk.
“The last few years we’ve had cars going through barricades,” said Colleen Whitman, parade co-chair, “We had at least two or three barricades we lost because people literally drove through them. A lot of the areas they’re driving through are where our bands are lined up … kids standing in the street.”
Whitman gave a presentation on what interested parties can do to help ensure the parade continues.
The core necessity is manpower — ideally, the parade is looking for 20 to 25 volunteers to help with setup the day before the event, 40 to 50 the day it takes place, and 20 to 30 the day after, organizers said.
Volunteers help set up and take down barricades and no-parking signs and assist with the registration and staging of participants as well as working the stands, directing traffic and related tasks.
“Parade day goes extremely well if there is help,” Leibensperger said.
Whitman noted that there are no age restrictions on volunteering, though children under age 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Volunteers are also needed prior to the parade to help contact suppliers, vendors and bands to participate and to send out sponsorship letters.
Those interested in volunteering can register using a link posted on the King Frost Parade Facebook page.
Leibensperger said a final decision on whether to continue the parade will be made in the coming days based on the number of volunteers who express interest.
“You guys are sitting here in front of us, I know it’s beyond Facebook warriors,” Leibensperger said. “We’re here because you want a parade.”
Organizers noted that those unable to volunteer can support the parade financially with donations made payable to King Frost Parade and mailed to King Frost Parade, PO Box 488, Hamburg, PA 19526.
The parade is free to enter for individuals and $50 for business entries.
Attendees at the meeting expressed an interest in volunteering their time and skills.
“This is a big incubator of nostalgia,” one said. “Whenever we lose anything like this, it has a huge effect on reputation, on real estate values, on the interest of entertaining oneself here.”
Hilary Joy said the parade floats have lined up outside her house since she was born.
The comments were emotional at times — many said they were Hamburg natives who grew up with the parade and considered it a staple of the community.
“When I saw the post I was kind of upset … I want to offer my services as a DJ,” John Seem said.
Some said they couldn’t believe it when they heard the parade was in danger of being canceled and didn’t realize the situation was so dire until the parade committee’s initial announcement.
Rosslyn Riegel said she would be willing to reach out to younger generations on social media to generate interest.
“Not only will I volunteer for the day of, I would like to open up my sun porch and make a little station for any volunteers who need water or a rest,” Joy said, garnering applause from the crowd.
Other offerings included everything from trailers and generators to the volunteer services of the entire staff of the Brimfield Antique Show.
The King Frost Parade in its current form began in 1964, when the Hamburg Jaycees revived a decades old pre-Halloween celebration dating to 1910.
Until this year the parade was staged by the Hamburg Jaycees, but several months ago that group folded, and the nonprofit King Frost Parade Inc. took charge.
“For most, the King Frost Parade signifies a homecoming, our childhood, Hamburg at its core,” the group said in its original post. “In its heyday, the parade welcomed in upwards of 20 different high school bands, floats, marching groups, local dignitaries, and celebrities. It was broadcast on TV and covered well by local newspapers.
Those looking for more information on the parade, volunteering or donating can email email@example.com.
Source: Berkshire mont