MOUNT CARMEL - Picnic in the Park returns for its 18th year Thursday through Saturday, with a parade, fireworks and plenty of entertainment, food and games on tap.

The popular event sponsored by Mount Carmel Volunteer Emergency Services Association Inc. (MCVESA) is scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, and 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday at town park.

Kristina Baluta, treasurer of MCVESA, who is spearheading the event with volunteer firefighter Eric Troutman, said donations to support firefighters and other emergency services personnel are welcome and can be made at the picnic.

"We are hoping for a good turnout and great weather," Baluta said. "There will be great entertainment, food and games and all proceeds will benefit the fire companies and charitable organizations."

Entertainment lineup

"Motivation Station" will perform several dance routines at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the gazebo. A concert by the Shoreliners is set for 7 to 10 p.m.

On Friday, Marla and the Juniper Street Band will play from 7 to 11 p.m.

Haela will perform at the picnic from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by Red Halo from 7 to 11 p.m.

Parade, truck housing

Saturday's parade will begin about 5 p.m. on Chestnut Street and move through the downtown area before ending at Anthracite Fire Company, where a housing ceremony for the company's new ladder truck and a building dedication will be conducted. Trophies in various categories will be awarded.

Fireworks will be set off at about 10:05 p.m. Saturday from the top of the coal bank overlooking the Anthracite Baseball Field (see separate story).

13 vendors

Thirteen local vendors will be at the park throughout the three-day picnic, along with a bounce house and kids' games.

Other attractions include Smokey the Bear and Gym Starz, a gymnastics group that will perform Saturday.

Baluta said if enough interest is generated, a pumping contest and water barrel tug-of-war will be held Friday night. Baluta said an out-of-town fireman's challenge may be held Saturday.

Parking restrictions for the parade will be in effect from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Parking will be prohibited on Chestnut Street between Second and Fourth streets.

Participants at this year's picnic include American Hose and Chemical Fire Engine Company, Anthracite Steam Fire Engine Company, Strong Fire Company, Mount Carmel Fire Police, Clover Hose Company, Wilburton Hose Company, Beaverdale Fire Company, A-Z Concessions, Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Mount Carmel Elks, Gym Starz, Mount Carmel National Historical Society and Think Big, a charitable organization that will hold a bake sale all three days.

Anyone seeking information about the picnic should call Baluta at 570-933-4693.