ELMHURST – If it's one thing that defines summer, it's the annual carnivals and special events put on by local fire departments.
On Thursday, the parade traveled down Blue Shutters Road to the Elmhurst township grounds, where games, music and food awaited an astounding number of people.
Firetrucks and emergency vehicles from all over Lackawanna and Wayne Counties. Vehicles came from Moscow, Thornhurst, Taylor, Madison, Hamlin, Carbondale and of course Elmhurst-Roaring Brook.
Other emergency response vehicles such as the giant vehicles from RLE and Milewski Towing and Recovery drove the route as well.
The parade also featured Cub Scout Pack 126, Lynette's Twirlerettes of Lake Ariel, and people representing St. Mary's Villa. Most parade members, driving or not, had plenty of candy to throw to their adoring fans.
The procession began with VFW Post 5207, followed closely by the Black Diamonds Pipe Band of Scranton.
The yellow and white vehicles of the Elmhurst-Roraring Brook Volunteer Fire Company led the way for the emergency and fire vehicles in the parade.
The softballers from the North Pocono Bombers were eager to pass out candy to crowds of kids.
The focus in the parade was on the emergency personnel who make such a difference in the lives of their community members.
The judges looked at the participants in the 2017 parade, and made their decisions on the best examples for each category. They are:
Best appearing apparatus: Spring Brook Tanker 53
Best appearing Engine: Taylor Squad 95
Best appearing Rescue: Moscow Rescue 7
Best appearing EMS unit: Dickson City
Best appearing Group in the line of march: Black Diamond Pipes & Drums
Furthest Distance Traveled: Pocono Summit
Parade Committee Award: RLE
Judges Awards: NP Bombers Softball, Bill Desandis Antique Ford, & Thornhurst Brush Tanker 54
Naturally, many who watched the parade migrated to the carnival grounds by the Elmhurst Township building.
Parking was jam-packed, and the procession from the beginning of the parade route to the grounds took over twenty minutes, even though it was less than a mile and a half.
Clearly, the carnival was the place to be.
With rides, games, a fun house, a band playing live music, a large raffle and more food than one could believe, the carnival was the perfect stop for families wanting a night out.
The family angle was not just evidenced in the visitors to the carnival, but also ingrained into the very fabric of the carnival itself.
Generations of firefighters and social members have served up delicious treats and tried the luck of visitors on the games.
Ashley DeFlice, one of the volunteers at one of the food stands, had been working the fair for eighteen years. She worked alongside her sister, Stefanie Trygar, and made sure her sibling would also be helping out that year.
She related it to the teenagers at the game stand next door, several were children of those in her particular stand.
DeFlice pointed out William Trygar, 14, as an example of how often the children of the fire company have been at the carnival.
“William was here as a one month old,” Ashley DeFlice said. “They all come. They all kind of grew up together. As they get older, we incorporate them in where we can.”
William Trygar, James Lamberti, Ryan Schield and Logan Minella were in charge of the Ring the Bell game, which had a wooden cow with a bell hanging from its collar that people had to try to hit.
Over at the neighboring raffle tent, where over seventy raffle items reigned, were several more firefighters and social members: Patty Evanchyk, Jolene Lamberti, Sean Hanlon, Cathy Schield, Kris Hanlon, Susan Nieroda, Tony Jordan and Melanie Lamberti.
Elmhurst-Roaring Brook Fire Department members were all over the carnvial grounds, but the Moscow Fire Department made their mark with their popular wings stand.
All the stands and activities existed thanks to the cooperation and hard work of several fire departments, volunteers and families, who put this on every year as a labor of love.
The next events to look forward to are the Wine and Crafts Festival on August 6th, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the carnival grounds and a chicken barbeque on October 8th from 12 to 4 p.m. at St. Eulalia Parish Hall.
The 2018 Elmhurst-Roaring Brook Carnival is set for June 27-30.