SWOYERSVILLE — The borough teemed with hundreds of residents filled with the spirit of the holidays as they lined the streets to witness the arrival of Old Saint Nick on Sunday in the first Christmas in Coaltown parade and event.
Organizer and borough Councilman Christopher Concert spearheaded the event as a way to help the Swoyersville Fire Company 279 and as a way to bring members of the local community together for an old-fashioned holiday-season gathering.
He has spent the last 10 years working to raise funds for the borough’s volunteer fire companies.
The parade snaked through 15 streets within and included fire trucks, police cars and vintage vehicles, Concert said. He estimated that about 300 parade enthusiasts of all ages lined the streets.
It finished at the fire station on Slocum Street, where revelers gathered for a Christmas show that included performances by 4-year-old Apalonia Passetti, singer George Rittenhouse as well as photo opportunities with the jolly old elf himself.
They also enjoyed a 1,000-piece miniature Christmas town set up for view and walls lined with raffle baskets donated by businesses from all over Northeastern Pennsylvania.
There was also “re-gift shop” items donated by residents for sale.
“It’s just a fun day,” Concert said. “And it’s not just for the local community, everyone is welcome in Swoyersville for the event,” he added.
“It pleased even the ‘Grinchiest Scrooge,’ ” he said.
Concert said the event would not be possible with the help from volunteers who set up the displays, provided food, items for sale, activities and just helped make the day festive.
Tracy Passetti, Apalonia’s mother, said her daughter is becoming a very active local performer, showing her talents in front audiences attending local professional sporting events as well as other activities.
Apalonia promised her fans she would be singing “This big!” as she held her arms out while wearing a pink gown.
Rittenhouse, who performed his “one-man-show,” said he could not think of a better cause for donating his time than helping the local fire company.
“These people do so much to help the community and they don’t ask for anything,” he said.
Fire Chief Marty Mahon lauded the effort Concert put together.
“He’s always bending over backwards for us,” Mahon said. “Things are tough (financially), and the funds he raises will be a great asset,” he said.
Concert said he was amazed at how many people decided to participate even with the threat of unsavory weather. He added that because of the popular demand and support already shown by the community he expects it to grow into an annual event that will draw folks from all over the region.