Pottstown parade brings spectators from near and far to celebrate Independence Day

Photo by John Strickler The Pottstown Roller Derby Rock Stars skate down High St. in the Pottstown 4th of July parade Friday, July 4.
Photo by John Strickler Bills Mini Rodz and drivers drive down High Street in the Pottstown Fourth of July parade Friday. They were one of the new entries in this years parade and a popular one with the crowd.

For many people in the Pottstown area, the Fourth of July parade is an annual ritual.

One family, however, came from much farther away to celebrate Americas independence.

We come here in the summer time and we wanted a good parade, said Wendy Cullinane, who lives in Clonakilty, Ireland, and attended the parade with her two daughters, 9-year-old Sabine and 8-year-old Adriana

The trio was at the parade because it reminded Cullinane of the parades she saw growing up in Bethlehem.

I wanted to show my kids what I celebrated all my life, so we came to Pottstown and we love it. Weve been here for years, she said.

Cullinane and her daughters saw the Boyertown Alumni Band, a big yellow duck from the Rotary Club and members of local clubs, along with many other parade participants.

The parade started with a group of local police departments heralding in a Vietnam veterans honor guard. The group marched with flags held high and encouraged residents to stand and pledge allegiance to the American flag as it passed.

Cullinane, who has been living in County Cork, Ireland for 12 years, said she sees a lot of similarities in the Pottstown parade and the parades she watched when she was younger.

This is what I remember growing up. We went to the parade in Wind Gap up near the Poconos, she said about the parades of her past. The fire trucks, the flags, just the small town hometown feeling. You dont get that as much in the Lehigh Valley.

While Cullinane reminisced about the past, her daughters were enthralled by the passing groups, but they especially loved the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars.

They have the roller skating girls, said Sabine, a quiet, blonde girl who showed off a slight brogue as she spoke.

Sabine and her sister sat on the sidewalk wearing with sunglasses with American flags painted across the lenses.

I like the fire trucks and the Roller Derby girls, Adriana said. While she was speaking the Rockstars rolled past and both girls waved.

Margaret Frane, of Pottstown, was sitting in a lawn chair along the parade route.

In an interview with Off The Presses, Frane said she has been at the parade every year and that the bands are her favorite part.

Mark Howell, also of Pottstown, said he has been to the parade for six years. He told Off The Presses that he likes being able to bring his kids to watch the annual event.

Marlene Hetchbeth, of Sanatoga, was one of two women sitting in front of a house on an outdoor couch watching the parade go past.

Ive been coming for a very long time, Hetchbeth said. Im just impressed with all of it; that it is so long. I like the cars.

Even some Pottstown companies came out to watch and host parties.

The Independence Planning Group spoke about why they wanted to celebrate the holiday in Pottstown.

We thought it was a great way to celebrate the countrys independence, said Patty Pacardi who owns the company. For the last five years weve invited our clients, their families and our coworkers and their families to a porch brunch to watch the (parade).