FOLLANSBEE - While storm clouds hovered above the Ohio Valley Saturday morning, they had spread apart when the Follansbee Community Days Parade began, kicking off the second day of the three-day festival.
The event continues today with a car show from noon to 4 p.m. at Lyle's Auto, on state Route 2; and at the festival's new location at Follansbee Park, music beginning at 6:30 p.m. by The Four Townsmen and Shout: Legends of Soul, followed by a fireworks display.
Many residents and visitors gathered along Main Street to view the parade, which included the West Virginia University Mountaineer Mascot, who gave the procession a shotgun start; the Tri-State Young Marines color guard, vehicles from several fire departments, the young pupils of a few dance studios, the Brooke High School marching band, dance team and cheerleaders; and the Osiris Shriners Tin Lizzy Patrol.
DANCE TEAM PERFORMS — The Brooke High School Dance Team was among several dance groups that performed during the Follansbee Community Days Parade Saturday. The parade kicked off the second day of the festival, which continues today at the parking lot of Follansbee Park. -- Warren Scott
Serving as parade marshal was Gerald "Peck" Blakley, a 96-year-old World War II veteran who served at the Battle of the Bulge and was honored at the Follansbee Community Days Dinner Wednesday.
Honors also went to former Follansbee Blue Wave cheerleading leaders and coaches Shelly Smith, Iris Ferrell, Kathleen Layburn and Sandy Rauschenberg, many of whom also appeared in the parade.
Follansbee Blue Wave Football Association cheerleaders and players also appeared on blue and white-decorated floats.
Some of the more unusual entries included the Wells Township Spookhouse's Zombie Assault Vehicle, an Army "hummer" painted black piping a tongue-in-check announcement the city was under martial law due to a threat by the fearsome creatures; the Pittsburgh Pierogies, familiar to Pittsburgh Pirate fans for their nightly races between the games' action; and the Driftin' Hoopie Experience, a local country band that performed on a flatbed truck.
The band, local oldies band the Original Fantasys and Charlie Thomas' Drifters, famous for such nationwide hits as "Up on a Roof" and "Under the Boardwalk," took to the Community Days stage Saturday.
Offering his own renditions of hits recorded by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and others was Frankie Capri of Dravosburg, Pa., who was hired by Little Tony's Cafe, a local business operating a food booth at the festival.
"I like this guy. He's right up my alley," said Millie Huggins of Mingo Junction, referring to the era of classic crooners and early rock and roll artists covered by Capri.
Following the parade, many came to the festival to select for lunch a meatball, sausage or pulled pork sandwich, pepperoni roll, taco in a bag, egg roll or any of a variety of other food for sale.
It's the first year the festival has been held at the Follansbee Park parking lot, and many commented they enjoyed being able to cool off at a picnic table at the park.
"I kind of like it. There's a lot more room here," said Jim "Jaggers" Huggins of Mingo Junction.
Frank Bednarek of Steubenville said it was very difficult to find parking, but the new site reminded him and his wife of picnics held at the park by Holy Family Catholic Church and the bocce games some played at the park's court.
Access to a sufficient electrical supply led the festival's organizers to nix holding the festival in the park itself, so the many food, craft and other booths and the stage were set up on the lot by the Follansbee Community House.
Because no parking is available at the park itself, the shuttles that have transported past visitors from an area near Jo-Jon's on the city's north to the festival have added stops at several sites along Main Street (state Route 2).
They are: Domino's, the former site of Farmer Frank's, the Follansbee City Building, Brooke County Senior Center and James Funeral Home.
City Police have encouraged attendees who opt to park and walk to the festival to cross from Follansbee Plaza, the site of the Sunoco station and other businesses, where they may be assisted by officers or a pedestrian crossing signal.
On Saturday a number of children were enjoying the park's playground and swimming pool as well as a few games set up by local groups.
The Follansbee Fire Department set up a dime toss and bingo at the park's Follansbee Lions Shelter, and the Follansbee Blue Wave Football Association set up its own coin toss and football toss games.
Jim Coburn, a coach with the football league, said it's important to offer activities for the children.
"We've got to get the kids involved in everything. They're our future," said Coburn.
Among many other non-profit groups taking part were members of St. Anthony Catholic Church, who were selling chances for a widescreen television and golf bag. The Rev. Pete Giannamore, the church's clergy, explained proceeds will go to restoring the bell tower that has been a part of the church since it was built more than 60 years ago.
The festival also has offered the opportunityfor organizations to share information.
Rae Tate and Loretta Ceccarelli, volunteers for state Attorney General Darrell McGraw, who appeared in the parade, were on hand to share brochures about the National Do Not Call Registry, concealed carry weapon laws and avoiding hiring a fraudulent building contractor.
Representatives of the West Virginia Army National Guard, based at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport, allowed children to get a close look at their high-mobility multiple purpose wheeled vehicle, better known as a "hummer," while sharing information with potential recruits.