KINGWOOD — Despite the fall chill in the air, people lined the streets to watch this years Fireman’s Parade. Benches, chairs, strollers for the children and folded blankets for two made a colorful display of seating for those who waited eagerly for the parade to begin.
Some who lined the streets waited in anticipation of the bands and emergency equipment. Others came because they had family members participating in the parade.
This year’s parade was listed as “An Extraordinary Edition of our Famous Fireman’s Parade” in the Buckwheat Festival book. Leading the parade was a special color guard featuring the Preston High School Army JROTC Honor Guard. Following them, nearly 100 units of bands as well as fire and emergency apparatus vehicles representing fire and emergency services from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland lit up the streets as they passed by.
Charity Flesher from Arthurdale said she was there to watch one of her children who played the trumpet in the Preston County High School band.
“I come every year,” Amanda Williams said. “My son is in the JROTC band. This is his last year. He’s a senior.”
Hannah Cozad from Barbour County said this was her first time to see the Fireman’s Parade. She said she came because her daughter was in the band.
Cozad was not the only first timer to see the parade. Marijke Schnopp from Bruceton Mills said she usually waited for the School Day Parade.
Not everyone planned to watch from the sidewalk. Every year, 87-year-old Norma Jean Rosenau from New Jersey rents a room at the Inn. She usually sits on the porch to watch the parades. Rosenau said her cousin told her not to sit on the porch this year because it would be too cold. She said she visits Kingwood every year to see her relatives and enjoy the parades. She said her son is taking her to the festival grounds Sunday.
“I plan to come back every year for as long as I can,” Rosenau said. “I love West Virginia.”