Tournament of Leaves Parade brings out crowd

The American Legion marched in the Tournament of Leaves Parade.
The American Legion marched in the Tournament of Leaves Parade.

The 63rd annual Autumn Leaf Festival Tournament of Leaves Parade traveled through Clarion Saturday, Oct. 1 on Main Street. Students and families from Clarion and surrounding communities gathered to watch the parade and its participants. The theme of this year’s parade and festival was “Autumn Through the Looking Glass.” From decorations on floats to intricate costumes, the participants were able to incorporate the theme very creatively and effectively. Several organizations interrupted the theme to have originated from the second installment of the Disney movie sequence, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and based its float designs around the movie. For example, sorority Delta Zeta created a float in which they included a setup of a table and chairs and a member dressed as the Mad Hatter. Sorority sister Brittany Kowatch said her favorite part of the event was “seeing how many people were there and seeing how excited the kids were to get candy.”

This, in her opinion, made all of the hard work that went into the parade worth it. Many university organizations participated in the parade, including the Clarion University College Democrats, Clarion University Allies and multiple fraternities and sororities such as Sigma Chi and Delta Phi Epsilon. Local businesses and community members were also involved in the festivities, and President Karen Whitney also made an appearance. The local dance studio performed and local business Tri-County Animal Shelter marched with some of its adoptable animals. Clarion University Marching Band was also able to participate. Freshman member Megan Moore was excited to march in her first parade as a college student, and said that this part of the ALF festivities more than delivered.

“It set a good tone for the rest of the activities of the festival,” she said. Junior color guard member Marina Meholick agreed, saying, “I enjoyed all the positive energy from the audience and making people smile!” The ALF Parade is the only parade that the university marching band participates in, so it is always an enjoyable time for band and guard members. The ALF parade is a popular part of the festival’s activities, bringing out crowds that line all throughout Main Street, and according to student Anna Mae Pastorok, this is not a surprise at all. “[I love] seeing all of the smiles on the faces of the people around me, not only in the parade, but from the people watching on the streets,” she said fondly. She expressed the importance of the parade for the community, explaining, “We all come together to show our support for the different organizations in our community and I think that’s great.” With the successful turnout of this year’s Tournament of Leaves Parade, students have high hopes for next year’s event. “ALF brings in more and more people each year,” Pastorok said. “I can only imagine the number of people who will attend in the years to come.”

More local businesses and organizations are getting involved each year as well, and in the opinion of many students, the parade will only get bigger. The 63rd annual Autumn Leaf Festival Tournament of Leaves Parade traveled through Clarion Saturday, Oct. 1 on Main Street. Students and families from Clarion and surrounding communities gathered to watch the parade and its participants. The theme of this year’s parade and festival was “Autumn Through the Looking Glass.” From decorations on floats to intricate costumes, the participants were able to incorporate the theme very creatively and effectively. Several organizations interrupted the theme to have originated from the second installment of the Disney movie sequence, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and based its float designs around the movie. For example, sorority Delta Zeta created a float in which they included a setup of a table and chairs and a member dressed as the Mad Hatter.

Sorority sister Brittany Kowatch said her favorite part of the event was “seeing how many people were there and seeing how excited the kids were to get candy.” This, in her opinion, made all of the hard work that went into the parade worth it. Many university organizations participated in the parade, including the Clarion University College Democrats, Clarion University Allies and multiple fraternities and sororities such as Sigma Chi and Delta Phi Epsilon. Local businesses and community members were also involved in the festivities, and President Karen Whitney also made an appearance. The local dance studio performed and local business Tri-County Animal Shelter marched with some of its adoptable animals. Clarion University Marching Band was also able to participate. Freshman member Megan Moore was excited to march in her first parade as a college student, and said that this part of the ALF festivities more than delivered. “It set a good tone for the rest of the activities of the festival,” she said. Junior color guard member Marina Meholick agreed, saying, “I enjoyed all the positive energy from the audience and making people smile!”

Political campaigners also marched in the parade.
Political campaigners also marched in the parade.

The ALF Parade is the only parade that the university marching band participates in, so it is always an enjoyable time for band and guard members. The ALF parade is a popular part of the festival’s activities, bringing out crowds that line all throughout Main Street, and according to student Anna Mae Pastorok, this is not a surprise at all. “[I love] seeing all of the smiles on the faces of the people around me, not only in the parade, but from the people watching on the streets,” she said fondly. She expressed the importance of the parade for the community, explaining, “We all come together to show our support for the different organizations in our community and I think that’s great.” With the successful turnout of this year’s Tournament of Leaves Parade, students have high hopes for next year’s event. “ALF brings in more and more people each year,” Pastorok said. “I can only imagine the number of people who will attend in the years to come.” More local businesses and organizations are getting involved each year as well, and in the opinion of many students, the parade will only get bigger.

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