Despite all-day rain until shortly before the parade, people lined the two-mile parade route of the 55th Annual King Frost Parade in Hamburg at 7 p.m. on Oct. 27.
“I saw plenty of people out despite the rainy weather, looking to be part of something special that occurs here in Hamburg,” said Hamburg Mayor George Holmes who rode in the parade, tossing candy out to the children.
While there were negative comments on social media about the Hamburg Jaycees Parade Committee’s decision to hold the parade despite it raining all day, there were also many who showed their support for the Jaycees and at least one person pointed out that the forecast for the Nov. 3 rain date also anticipated rain.
Prior to parade start, Hamburg resident Jennifer Shade, attending with her husband Jim, said, “We considered not coming because of the rain but I’ve lived here since an infant so I don’t miss it. We come every year… It’s good camaraderie. Hamburg does a lot of cool things for people, for families. That’s the best part of being in this town.”
Alyse Mitten of Hamburg joined the crowd of spectators.
“We come every year because it’s just tradition of the people in Hamburg,” said Mitten.
“It’s really cool today. It’s raining and people are putting their chairs out in the rain, so it’s just something we all love.”
Sisters Kristy Rutt from Mohrsville and Staci Foreman of Bernville and their sister-in-law Kasey Gray (her dad George Mitten is King Frost) came out with their families.
Rutt said, “It’s fun for the kids every year.”
Foreman agreed. “The kids enjoy it.”
“No doubt that the rain before the parade was the hardest on the Jaycees, who organize this event. Erica Keller (parade chair) did a great job making the parade happen this year and she is to be commended,” said Holmes.
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 just gets really excited for the parade. I think it’s just a good time.”
The King Frost Parade dates back to 1910 when it was held by the Keystone Social Club. There were times when parade was not held, especially during the two World Wars. In 1964 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,” said Hamburg Jaycee Colleen Witman, former King Frost Parade Chair and currently Jaycee State President.
About 65 to 100 entries participate in the parade every year. A few dropped out this year due to the rain. This year’s parade opened with the appearance of King Frost, portrayed by George Mitten. A crowd of his family members gathered out front of Windsor Press, shouting and cheering for him as he waved.
Overall Float was awarded to The Pirate Ship, with the Overall Float Runner-Up going to Carter’s Tree Service for their Zombine Removal float.
The Hamburg Area High School Marching Band won first place in B2 (Under 75) and crowd favorite Parkland High School Marching Band won first place in B1 (75+).
Many locals get involved in the parade, including Scouts, Berks County Dairy Royalty, 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.
Volunteers from the Hamburg High School Wilderness Club helped with setup “No Parking” signs on Friday. Day of the parade, they were running around selling 2018 King Frost Parade pins which serves as a fundraiser to support the annual parade.
Hamburg junior Brandon Cresina, 16, was among the members of the Hamburg Wilderness Club to volunteer. A little wet from the rain, but still smiling, Cresnia walked along the route prior to the parade, asking attendees if they wanted a pin. He enjoys getting out to help the community.
“I’ve been living in Hamburg for 16 years so I’ve always come and watched the parade but now I figured I’d help out with it,” said Cresina. “You always watch this parade as a kid and then actually being in it is kind of fun.”
Wilderness Club members also rode on a float or walked beside it during the parade while throwing candy.
“You get to see a smile on every kid’s face,” he said.
Mayor Holmes encouraged more people to get involved in next year’s parade.
“Every year I hear complaints about the size of the King Frost Parade, that it is not the same as compared to years past,” said Holmes. “I encourage neighbors on the same block or even families to put their energy towards building a float or participating in the parade. We are all responsible for making the parade the best it can be, and many hands make light work.”
The Parade Committee thanks all of the parade sponsors, Outten Family of Dealerships, IWCO, East Penn Manufacturing, Essig, Leibensperger Funeral Home, E.S. Savage and VIST Bank to name a few.
“Without your generous contributions, our parade would not be possible. And a special thank you to all of our volunteers that helped out again this year,” the Committee posted on their King Frost Parade Facebook page. “See you all again next year!”
2018 King Frost Parade Winners
Overall Float: The Pirate Ship
Overall Float Runner-Up: Carter’s Tree Service for their Zombine Removal float.
1st place: Hamburg Wilderness Club
2nd place: Pack 163 Dinosaur Hunters
3rd place: Love is Love GSA Club
1st place: Dance Pointe Studio, Hamburg, The Nutcracker
2nd place: Mohr Fabrication, Giving Rust Mohr Potential
3rd place: 1787 Brewing Co., What’s Brewing
1st place: Steam Engine
2nd place: Pops Veggies
Baton/Twirling 1st place: Emelia Adam
1st place: Pop’s Veggies
2nd place: Pure Wild Tea
3rd place: Microtel and Pappy T’s Superheroes on the Avenue
1st place: Carter’s Tree Service, Zombie Removal
2nd place: Yellow Rose Enterprises
Masqueraders Small Group
1st place: Jurassic Kids
2nd place: Pirate Ship
Masqueraders Large Group
1st place: Culture Shock
2nd place: Hamburg Youth FCA, Winter WON-derland
B2 (Under 75)
1st place: Hamburg Area High School Band
1st place: Parkland High School Trojans Marching Band
1st place: Aqua String Band
2nd place: Rajah String Band
3rd place: Allentown Hobo Band