Saturday, October 9 at 11am
A Very Good Dog Will Be Marshall for This Year’s Parade!
For this first time in history, a dog has been named “Parade Marshal” for this year’s Fort Ligonier Days Parade. But it’s not just any dog – it’s Daniel, the Golden Retriever, who wowed the crowds at the Westminster Dog Show as tops among his breed.
Daniel is owned by Tammy Tomlinson of Ligonier and was also star of the show when scores of Golden Retrievers (some of his offspring) visited Ligonier earlier this summer for a memorable Golden gathering weekend.
A book about Daniel was published in January called “Daniel, the Golden Retriever.” It’s a hardcover picture book, written by Tomlinson and illustrated by Kiersten Eagan. It recounts the story of a “very good dog who is used to winning but learns a tough lesson” when he is snubbed by the judges for Best of Show after winning the hearts of dog lovers at the 2020 Westminster Dog Show.
This year’s parade may not be as long as some in the past, but it will have all the usual elements, according to Tom Stablein, parade chairman. Something new to look forward to is the Euclid Beach Rocket Car from the Cleveland area, recalling the rocket cars that were once featured at Idlewild Park.
This Rocket Car was created from an authentic space rocket swinging ride, salvaged from the old Euclid Beach Amusement Park that existed in the Cleveland area until about 1969. Ron Heitman took a dream and did what he likes best – turned it into a car! A 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado drive train was used to transform The Rocket Car into a legal street vehicle. The original rocket frame was mated to the Toronado sub-frame. The engine is a modified 455 cubic inch Olds with an automatic front-wheel-drive trans-axle.
The Rocket Car is 28 feet long nose to tail and covered entirely with polished stainless steel panels. Along with the driver it will seat 10 adults or 15 kids very comfortably. It has been inspected by the Ohio State Police and is registered and licensed in Ohio as a legal street vehicle. It is highly maneuverable and very smooth riding. It has a top confirmed speed of 136 mph! The Rocket car has appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and had been featured by Goodyear at the Indianapolis 500 Race.
Of course the parade will also feature the usual contingent of antique cars, trucks and tractors, along with the fun and quirky Syria Temple Shrine units, a contingent of re-enactors from Fort Ligonier and a fair amount of horse teams – including David Hershey’s six-horse hitch.
“Nothing beats a shiny black horse in a shiny harness,” says David Hershey of Warriors Mark, PA, speaking of the six Percherons from his Spring Mount Percherons farm in Huntingdon County. “Percherons are an obsession with us,” Hershey added. “They have style and animation. We love taking care of them and don’t consider it work.”
While there will be no large university bands featured in this October’s parade, there will be no shortage of high school bands. The list includes two high school bands from West Virginia – Morgantown and Philippi. Also look for Butler, Derry, Franklin Regional, Greensburg-Salem, Hempfield, Ligonier Valley – and making their first appearance, McKeesport.
The parade chairman explained that with the pandemic and lead time involved, there was not sufficient time to invite one of the big college bands this year, but high school bands aplenty have come forth to take part in the parade again this year.
“We may be short on floats,” Stablein noted, because many organizations were afraid to commit, not knowing if there was going to be a parade and what the rules might be for getting together and working on a float. He also noted the Wells Fargo Stage won’t be returning this year because they’re not yet back on the road for parades.
Summing up, the chairman noted the parade may be a little shorter than usual – perhaps 70 to 80 units rather than 90 to 100. But he expects it will be an entertaining as ever, so be sure to find your seat along the East and West Main Street parade route when the first units step off at 11 AM Saturday. Oct. 9.