Renovo preparing for one of the biggest parades ever on Saturday

KEVIN RAUCH/THE EXPRESS The 70th Anniversary of the Flaming Foliage Festival has sparked a new sense of nostalgia as community participation is at the highest its been in recent memory. Seventeen floats and 10 bands are just some of the attractions in the Parade of Queens Saturday afternoon in Renovo. The Greater Renovo Area Heritage Park members were putting the finishing touches on their float Thursday. From left are Ryan Graw, Rich Wykoff and Mary George Rhone.

By KEVIN RAUCH

For The Express

RENOVO — As the Flaming Foliage Festival Committee and residents roll out the welcome mat to anyone who wants to visit over the annual FFF Weekend, those making the stop in Renovo may notice more than welcoming smiles and changing leaves.

There is quite a bit of nostalgia in the air this year as the community celebrates the 70th Annual Flaming Foliage Festival.

The committee hopes that the flavor of celebrating this year’s festival goes hand-in-hand with some extra exuberance from those around the community. Most noticeable will be the Parade of Queens, the favorite part of the weekend for many.

Editor’s Note: This photo of Mary E. Holt, Miss Sugar Valley in the Flaming Foliage Festival, was inadvertently omitted in Flaming Foliage Express Thursday. We apologize for the error.

The parade begins at 1:45 p.m. Saturday and is perhaps the largest ever, according to longtime FFF Committee Chairperson Pattie Rauch.

“We have 17 floats entered in this year’s parade. In my 35 years being on the committee this is by far the most that we have ever had. And there will be10 bands marching in the parade, too,” she said, excitement in her voice as she talked about the weekend’s festivities.

“I definitely think it’s due to it being our 70th. My phone has been ringing for months with more calls coming the closer we get. People seem more enthusiastic this year,” she said.

Besides floats and bands, there will be lots of pretty girls. This year’s queen candidates representing area high schools will be among them, waving to the crowd as they pass by.

And there will be 19 past queens, as well, including the first ever Flaming Foliage Festival Queen Sherrill Hiller Rittenmeyer, who will serve as Grand Parade Marshall.

Rittenmeyer will be returning to the town that holds a special place for her in its history, as well as in its hearts.

She represented Jersey Shore High School when she arrived in that inaugural visit in the autumn of 1949 and has returned quite a few times since, becoming an adoptive daughter of the town. She also served as a queens’ judge for several years.

Eighteen other previous queens will once again enjoy a journey through the streets of Renovo as Grand Marshalls. Each will be wearing her crown so that recognizing them will not be hard. They will also each have a front row seat at the judges’ stand after they pass by, to watch the remainder of the parade.

And although the weather is expected to be cooler, the sun is expected to come out and warm up parade participants and those watching along the streets.

It’s gonna be a great day.

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