KENNETT SQUARE >> Ushering in a weekend of food, rides, demonstrations, craft vendors and music, the Mushroom Parade marched up State Street on Friday evening in honor of the festival to follow.
On hand as spectators were thousands of local residents, many of them arriving much earlier than the 6 p.m. appointed start time. Some, who had the wisdom to plan ahead, reserved seats for outdoor dining alongside the street that several of the restaurants offered.
Leading the parade was the veterans’ color guard, whose members regularly march the American flag in for every occasion.
They were followed shortly by the Kennett High School Band. In past years the band had to hurry through and get to a football game, but having performed at last nights game with Twin Valley, they had the night off to join the rest of Kennett Square at midtown.
The parade this year was joyful and well populated. Many groups from the area rode or marched through as did legislators Rep. Pat Meehan, Rep. John Lawrence (in his beloved antique car), Rep. Steve Barrar and Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick. Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russ Redding was also part of the festivities. Fire companies from Kennett Square, Longwood and Avondale also rolled through with sirens blaring.
The parade this year was dedicated to the late Kennett Square Police Chief Edward Zunino.
Mushroom Festival Chairman Kathi Lafferty was her usual cool self as she faced her busiest weekend of the year. “Have we ever had a weather forecast this wonderful?” she asked enthusiastically a few minutes befor the procession.
But a cloud that hovered over Kennett Square came to warn her not to get to smug. Just as the last participants in the parade were coming through, the sky dumped a short shower, sending the crowds scurrying. The setting sun watched from the west from the west, just to make sure he was not taken for granted.
On Saturday and Sunday the festival opens at 10 a.m. with gates along State Street and admission $3 for those 12 and over.
Parking can be found along the streets of Kennett Square as well as at Exelon and Kennett High School, where shuttle buses will pick up attendees.