Christmas parade tonight

The McGonigle Ambulance service float in the 2019 Hermitage Holiday Light Parade featured characters from "Toy Story." This year's parade starts at 6 p.m. tonight.

HERMITAGE – Early signs and good weather should mean big crowds for tonight's 23rd annual Hermitage Holiday Light Parade.

By noon, dozens of spots along East State Street were claimed with chairs or even portable canopies. Today's weather forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies with no precipitation and a temperature at 43 degrees at 6 p.m. — not bad for mid-November.

Festivities begin at 5:40 p.m. with fireworks at Hillcrest Cemetery, followed by the "Merry Christmas Mile" foot race at 5:50 p.m, the city's Facebook page reported.

The parade, cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, starts at 6 p.m. in the area of the Hermitage Towne Plaza on North Kerrwood Drive. It will head east on East State Street, then north onto to North Hermitage Road, ending near the Shenango Valley Mall at Indian Run.

Starting at 5:15 p.m., roads will close to traffic: East State Street from Buhl Farm Drive to the Shenango Valley Freeway; North and South Hermitage roads between Highland Road and the freeway; and all side roads that connect to East State Street between Highland Road and freeway from Buhl Farm Drive to the freeway.

Detours include Highland Road, Buhl Farm Drive, the freeway, Lamor Road, and East State Street between the mall and North Keel Ridge Road.

Motorists should stay alert for heavy pedestrian traffic.

Roughly 75 groups, businesses, and organizations have registered to participate; the parade ends with the jolly old elf himself: Santa Claus.

Each parade float will go past the judges' booth, on East State Street at Maple Drive.

Judging will weigh originality, creative use of lights and music, and holiday theme.

Results will be posted online at www.hermitage.net

The Reed family will act as this year's grand marshal, honoring the late Karen Reed, who helped organize the parade starting in 1998. Reed died in June.

The Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County will collect donations during the parade, as part of its Holiday Truck-Full of Hope Food Drive.

Much-needed non-perishable items include canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, and cereal. Donors should not use glass containers.

Donations can also be taken, through Dec. 17, to Taylor Chevrolet of Hermitage.

Parade updates will be posted on the "City of Hermitage, PA" Facebook page.

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