Levittown >> The Bucks County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade marched through Levittown Saturday morning turning the snow covered landscape green with Irish pride. From the members of the Ancient Hibernians (Newtown, Levittown and Bristol chapters) to the Irish Step Dancers from the Nicholl and Fitzpatrick schools of Irish Dance, the parade had Irish eyes smiling up and down New Falls Road. The Falls Township Police Honor Guard and State Rep. John Galloway (gold sponsor) led the march followed by the official parade banners and sponsorship recognition. They were followed by U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, State Senator Robert Tomlinson (gold sponsor) and 2015 Parade Grand Marshal Joe Hogan, who was instrumental in helping Bucks County secure the location for the Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery. More than 2,000 marchers participated in this year’s parade, including the Truman Tigers Marching Band and the Bracken Cadets, Irish dance groups, South Philadelphia-based mummers and string bands, Eagles’ play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese, local law enforcement and emergency responders, veterans, a number of pubs including the Five Four Bar and Grill, Stadium Bar and Grill and Dacey’s Irish Pub, community groups and hosts of proud Irish-American participants.
Bristol Borough - Thousands turned out Friday night and Saturday afternoon to welcome the season Bristol-style. The festivities kicked off Friday evening as record crowds jammed Mill Street and the wharf for the town's tree lighting and A Very Borough Christmas, which included shopping along Mill Street, entertainment, hot beverages and Philly pretzels. Standing before a sea of faces at the wharf, Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub was given the honor of officially lighting the town's Christmas tree at the intersection of Mill and Radcliffe streets. As the tree, donated by Jim and Maureen Bayer, broke through the darkness in a sudden flood of glistening lights, cheers erupted from the crowd as performers from the Bristol Riverside Theatre broke into a rousing chorus of "Joy to the World."
A siren pierced the quiet morning air as firefighters and emergency medical service providers from throughout Bucks County paused to remember the county’s fallen firefighters and EMS Responders on Sunday. Gathered around the Bucks County Fallen Firefighters Memorial in the courtyard of the county administrative building, they bowed their heads in silent remembrance of friends, colleagues, family members and volunteers who answered the call and never came home. Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia, speaking on behalf of her colleagues on the board, Charles Martin and Rob Loughery who were unable to attend, thanked the firefighters and EMS providers for their service to the county and for answering the call.
Despite a few weather hiccups, thousands again descended on this year’s Middletown Grange Fair on Penns Park Road in Wrightstown, making it one of the best events yet.
BRISTOL BOROUGH - An armada of decorated boats paddled across the serene waters of the Bristol Lagoon early Friday evening as the hugely popular Delaware Canal Festival got underway. While organizers kept a weary eye on the sky, hoping predictions of showers and storms would hold off, applause filled the air along the banks of the lagoon where hundreds gathered on beach chairs and blankets to watch the boat parade and to enjoy the other festival offerings. Organized by the Friends of the Delaware Canal, the special evening devoted to the canal featured live music, duck decorating tables, community informational booths, canal-related games including pin the tail on the mule, a cardboard boat contest, food trucks organized by Raising the Bar and the highlight of the day, the decorated boat parade.
Close to 400 hand-carved pumpkins – a record number this year - stretch for a quarter of a mile north along Edgewater Avenue from the East Afton Avenue canal bridge, capturing the spirit and magic of the Halloween season. The old-fashion, low-tech, family celebration of Halloween kicks off every year with a hugely-popular community Carve-O-Thon, where young and old gather on the Sunday before Halloween to create the jack-o-lanterns used to line the towpath. The serious carvers use power tools to create intricate designs, while others just use old-fashioned elbow grease and knives to work their creative magic on the pumpkins, which were purchased and donated by Charlann Farms in Lower Makefield. “I can’t believe the turnout today. It’s hard to imagine that nine years ago when we started this there were just a handful of people carving 25 or 30 pumpkins,” said Team Canal-O-Ween leader Tammy Marshall. “This is huge,” she said.
DOYLESTOWN >> During a poignant ceremony Sunday morning in Doylestown punctuated by the sounds of bagpipes, firefighters, fire police officers and EMS personnel gathered to honor the county’s fallen heroes. The ceremony began with a parade of firefighters, fire police officers and EMS personnel marching into the courtyard adjacent to the former courthouse. They were led by the Tullytown Fire Company Honor Guard and the Loch and Rannoch Pipes & Drum. As they honored the memory of the 30 county firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and fire police who have died in the line of duty, the first responders paid special tribute to two fire police officers whose names have been freshly etched into the memorial stone.
In a moving and beautiful Remembrance in Light ceremony replete with symbolism, the community bowed its collective head to remember, reflect and honor the memory of the 2,977 souls taken that day at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and in a field in Western Pennsylvania.
The five-day event spotlighted the best of Bucks County’s agricultural community, from its thriving 4-H program to antique farm machinery and award-winning crops. Fair visitors got to watch pig races, take in numerous animal shows, enjoyed free entertainment by voice impressionist and comedian Johnny Counterfit and the Essential Elvis Tribute Show with Jeff Krick and devoured delicious chicken dinner with home-grown ingredients.