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Halloween parade, Pokemon party draw hundreds to Vandergrift

posted Nov 18, 2016, 9:52 PM by Joseph Gray

More than 600 people visited downtown Vandergrift Friday night for a Pokemon party near the end of the borough's annual Halloween parade.

Groups of youngsters in zombie and chain-saw-masacre-themed costumes joined others dressed as princesses or ghosts.

About 60 kids and parents followed each of five fire engines that blared seasonal music. Just ahead of the engine a white hearse, with the back door swung open, added atmosphere.

Numerous families stood with strollers or, like Jason and Kristina McDermott and sons, Tyler, 9, Ryan, 14, and Nickson,11, sat on church steps to watch the parade.

At the top of Grant Street, Tara Hutcherson watched sons Mario and Marco, dash about in costume waiting for the parade to reach them. Then they were going to visit the end of the parade, where the firefighters and party planners were distributing candy and other treats.

The lights of the food booths could be glimpsed four blocks away.

Music, food booths, a pizza oven and wandering spectators, mostly toddlers, teens and 20-somethings with a sprinkling of silver-haired party-goers, filled most of Grant Street. Borough businesses donated costume prize money.

Inside a building showcasing everything Pokemon, Mark Gibson II of Elderton, formerly of Vandergrift, directed people to the displays and the haunted building down the street in the structure that once was shown in Cinemax's action series “Banshee.”

Cory Consalvo of Tarentum and Courtney Aldis of Allegheny Township, both 25, wore Pokemon costumes. “We grew up in day care watching Pokemon on TV. It's kind of nostalgic,” Consalvo said. “And you get exercise,” Aldis said.

Pokeman gamers Nicole and Todd Green of Cowansville were enjoying the day playing their favorite game.

“We used to do geo-cashing. You can open this up and play anywhere,” said Nicole.

Firefighter and event coordinator Randy Dunmire, 60, said he attended Vandergrift Halloween parades “as long as I can remember. This is a tradition we want to keep,” he said.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or