Official word: Shamokin 150th celebration a success
SHAMOKIN - Shamokin's 150th Anniversary Celebration has come and gone.
Officials who helped to plan the event are pleased with the results and thankful for the support that was shown for their efforts.
"Walking the parade route, there were twice as many people as I expected," said parade committee chair Bill Dudeck. "To see the people clapping and enjoying themselves, it was a great feeling."
Shamokin Mayor Bill Milbrand hopes the past week can be a kickstart for everyone to come together to make the city a better place to live.
"Hopefully, everyone will stand behind us and we can all work together to bring the city out of its distressed state. Let's roll on, Shamokin," he said.
Milbrand got a little choked up when recalling the celebration, especially the pride he felt walking the parade route to lead the returning Our Shamokin Band.
"I will tell you, I've never been so happy in my life to see this all come together," Milbrand said Sunday. "This past week has been such a wonderful time in the city."
Watching the mayor on the parade route, you could see the smile on his face as he looked at all the spectators.
"Everywhere I looked on the entire parade route was solid people, and when they saw the band, and they clapped and cheered for us; that was a great thrill for me. It did my heart proud," Milbrand said.
Dudeck thanked everyone who helped make the dreams of a few residents of a Fifth Ward citizens a reality.
He said U.S. Olympian Jayson Terdiman couldn't believe how well-received he was in this town, hearing U-S-A chants as he passed by.
Miss Pennsylvania Amanda Smith also got praise from Dudeck for really giving back to a city that welcomed her with open arms.
"Amanda was the most congenial person I've ever met. No matter who wanted a photo or just to say hello, she would make the time for them," Dudeck said.
That also created a special memory for Dudeck Saturday night. Following the parade, Smith was preparing to leave the city and they made one more request for her.
"We knew she was a vocal student and studying music in college, so we asked her to sing," Dudeck said.
With accompaniment by The Shoreliners, Smith sang "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.
"It was a beautiful moment that was completely spontaneous," Dudeck said.
For Milbrand, the moment that everything hit home for him was at the Anniversary Ball Thursday.
"When Chad Evans and Erica Perrige performed their song 'Shamokin State of Mind' and hearing about our history. That really hit home for me," the mayor said.
With the celebration now over, Dudeck and his committee now face the tough part of it all, paying for it.
He estimated that Saturday's events alone, including Mummers bands and the groups that performed along the parade route, cost about $32,000.
The committee held a raffle for a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro to help pay for the parade, but sales fell a bit short.
"We will be figuring out the math in the next few days," Dudeck said. "We had brisk sales of the Camaro tickets in the last few days, but we may fall just short."
Dudeck said some people have contacted him about helping make ends meet.
"We may just be calling some businesses and asking them about putting a basket together to chance off," he said.
Given Shamokin's financial distress and community concerns including unemployment and drug use, Milbrand said the anniversary celebration was much-needed to help bring back pride in the city.
"This week showed the world that Shamokin is still here and alive and well," he said.
It's a feeling he hopes will continue, both with residents and government.
"Myself and city council, we will do our part to try to make Shamokin one of the best places in the world to live," he said.