Oxford Halloween Parade delights the crowd
By J. Chambless
The Lincoln University Marching Band drum major leads his musicians up Third Street. (Photo by Chris Barber)
Several thousand spectators packed Oxford’s Third Street from one end of town to the other on Thursday evening for a parade that’s the most extravagant of the season. Even before the procession kicked off at the south end of town, chatter was going through the crowd -- “Is Lincoln coming? Are the Jackson scarecrows marching again?”
The answer to both was “yes.”
Spectators took their places three deep along the sidewalk shortly after 6 p.m. As the time grew close, parade co-chairman Jim McLeod looked down at his watch and commented that his events always start on time. At 6:30 p.m. on the dot, the red and blue police car lights started blinking as the parade started moving.
The ideal weather helped prompt the upbeat mood. Co-chairman Chris Grove said, “How many years has it been since the weather was this good?”
McLeod, who collected the marchers’ applications with Grove ahead of time, said there were 60 floats, bands, company trucks and other marchers already signed up -- and that wasn’t counting the walk-on families and individuals.
The participants brought a varied show which began with Oxford’s Union fire trucks having just returned from covering a fire in Bart Township. Then came the Penn’s Grove Middle School and Oxford High School bands. Several youth dance and dramatic groups made brief stops in front of the reviewing stand to show their talents, and interspersed with them were many families and individuals who dressed up for the walk.
Included prominently -- and graciously received by the crowd -- was the large Jackson family, consisting of relatives of all ages dressed as “unscary” scarecrows. The Unionville Equine veterinary center brought up the rear with a horse, a cow and a goat.
But by far, the star of the show was the Lincoln University Marching Band. The drumbeat and accompanying cheering from the crowd could be heard several blocks away from the reviewing stand as they marched northward. The band stopped at several intervals to present their show, and the crowd greeted the spectacle with their appreciative applause and hoorays.
Dressed in their signature orange and navy uniforms, the Lincoln musicians were full of exuberance. The band was led by its energetic drum major, who was flanked by two banner holders in silver leotards. Throughout their show, they were often airborne and moved in perfect sync.
The marchers were judged by a three-person group on the reviewing stand at Locust Street. These are the winners, as reported by the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce:
Best overall: Lincoln University Marching Band
Best floats: 1. Diamond Divas; 2. Oxford Little League; 3. Unionville Equine
Best performance: 1. KMC, 2. Oxford Area High School Marching Band; 3. Streetlamp Productions
Best businesses: 1. Sonny Bea’s; 2. Cameron's Hardware; 3. Linda Ingenthron State Farm Insurance Agent
Best individual group or float: 1. Farmer Jackson; 2. Trash Truck; 3. Cat and Mouse; and 4. Edward Scissorhands.