The 55th Annual King Frost Parade in Hamburg features a new addition this year, the performance by the Aqua String Band, a Philadelphia-based volunteer string band best known for their participation in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.

“They are a very theatrical band. They have brightly colored costumes. They’re pretty entertaining,” said 2018 King Frost Parade Chairman Erica Keller. “I think people are not expecting it because we have the same bands, high school marching bands, Raja Chanters and String Band and Hobo Band, but I feel like people are not expecting this so I hope it kind of spices things up a little bit.”

The Hamburg Jaycees host the 55th Annual King Frost Parade in Hamburg at 7 p.m. on Oct. 27. The rain date is the following Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.

Keller has been involved in the parade since childhood. Both of her parents chaired the parade in the past.

“We always say this. The King Frost Parade really serves as a homecoming,” said Keller. “Tons of people come back just for the parade. It reunites families and everybody gets really excited for the parade. I think it’s a good time.”

The committee boasts that King Frost is one of the longer parades in the area. The parade route is almost two miles long. Spectators can expect the parade to last about an hour and a half for the individual experience.

The Hamburg Area High School Marching Band always opens the parade, followed by King Frost. Returning will be Miss Pennsylvania and crowd favorite Parkland High School Marching Band. An appearance by Santa always concludes the parade.

Unfortunately, the Phillie Phanatic is unable to make an appearance but the parade committee hopes for his return next year.

About 65 to 100 entries participate in the parade every year. The parade committee accepts entries up until day before the parade. Many locals get involved in the parade, including Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, Hamburg High School Homecoming King and Queen, Berks Outstanding Young Woman, dance studios, churches, community organizations and local businesses.

“I feel like we’ve gone a lot more town people wanting to join which is nice,” said Keller.

The King Frost Parade has been sponsored by the Hamburg Jaycees every year since 1964.

“The parade was originally started in 1910 and at one point the Keystone Social Club ran it and then because of the two World Wars and everything, there some gaps where it didn’t happen,” said Hamburg Jaycee Colleen Witman, former King Frost Parade Chair and currently Jaycee State President. “In 1964 is when the Hamburg Jaycees brought the parade back. It’s a group of community minded individuals who wanted to bring something back to town so they revived the parade and now since then it has run continuously.”

Keller explained that the Hamburg Jaycees are a group of young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 that want to learn about leadership and jump into leadership roles in the community. They host three big events every year: the Egg Hunt at Edenburg Park, the Family Festival at Hamburg Park over Memorial Day Weekend, and the King Frost Parade.

“We’re a pretty tight-knit group,” said Keller. “There’s a core of us and we’re all pretty good friends and we all run the events together.”

Participating in Jaycees teaches leadership skills, as well as organization, “And it feels good to give back to the community, feels good to do something for your community,” said Keller.

The Jaycees are always looking for new members.

The Parade Committee encourages community members to volunteer for the parade for before, during and after the parade, including set up and clean up.

For more information about participating or volunteering for the 55th Annual King Frost Parade, contact the parade committee at 610-914-9505 and leave a message. A committee member will return your call as soon as possible, or email kingfrostparade@gmail.com.

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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