Pottstown parade attracks large crowd, patriotic floats

Bill and Sheree DeJohn of Gilbertsville appropriately dressed for the holidays as they rode their motorcycle along the parade route. Photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury

Residents of the Pottstown borough and surrounding townships lined High Street to watch the annual Fourth of July parade Thursday morning.

Spectators brought blankets, folding chairs and anything red, white or blue they could find.

Little girls wore red gingham dresses and had ribbons in their hair while boys showed their pride with Captain America logo T-shirts.

When the first group of parade participants made it to the intersection of High and Evans streets shortly after 10:30 a.m., the crowd began to cheer.

“I love getting out early with my kids and my family and watching the parade,” said Dan O’Brien of Pottstown, who was at the parade with his daughter and son. “My kids like to cheer for the soldiers and my daughter is afraid of the fire trucks, but they like the candy that is thrown out.”

His daughter, Sarah, 4, whispered in her dad’s ear all her favorite things about the parade. She told her dad that she liked being with her grandmother and seeing the bikes.

Brendan O’Brien said he really liked getting candy.

A last-minute addition to the parade this year was a float that went down the route twice. The float boasted the most patriotic beer, called the Declaration Nation Ale.

“Brew Dogs,” a new reality series that will start in the fall, showcases brewers around the country that are taking brewing beer to the extreme. During the parade, Scottish hosts Martin Dickie and James Watt were on a float brewing beer while the process was being documented for the series.

A Scottish flag and an American flag hung side-by-side as the float rolled down High Street.

According to an interview given to the Mercury last week, Steve Stockman, an executive producer of the new show said, ““We have digitally encoded the preamble to the Declaration of Independence onto a large number of strands of DNA in the yeast that we will be using to make the beer.”

In the same interview, Stockman said one batch will have approximately 328 million copies of the Declaration’s preamble.

Police cars representing the area departments signaled the start of the parade. When the sirens would sound periodically, the smallest spectators cheered and screamed in delight.

Fire police volunteered their time in order to make the parade happen from North Coventry, West End, Upper Pottsgrove, Ringing Hill and Pottstown companies.

Spectators stood and some saluted as the American flag was held high over the parade route by a color guard that followed the police cars.

From boy scouts on bicycles to baseball teams, community groups were one of the largest participants in the parade.

There were dancers from local studios, a Zumba class and the Pottstown Royal Derby teams.

The only marching band this year was the Boyertown Alumni Marching Band. Band members played patriotic songs and classics while they walked down High Street. The alumni color guard, flag squad and twirling corps performed routines for the crowd.

Meaghan Wright and her son Timothy, 8, were sitting in the shade past the intersection of High and Hanover streets enjoying the parade.

Timothy couldn’t decide what his favorite part of the parade was, but his mom said she liked the Steam Calliope.

“It’s old time, classic, parade stuff,” she said. The Steam Calliope was the caboose in the parade this year. It rolled down High Street blasting steam and sound from the float.

Wright said she and her son have come to the parade a few times in the past and try to stay in the shade.

“It’s real old-time America and full of tradition,” she said about the Pottstown parade.

Evan Brandt contributed to this article.