OSCEOLA MILLS — The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has halted numerous area festivals from taking place this summer. But one that will continue on will be the Columbia Fire Company’s 98th Annual Firemen’s Fair in Osceola Mills — albeit with some differences than the usual fair.
Parade Chairman Russell Bush said because of the pandemic, they’ve decided against having the car show this year. Also gone are the rides — as it will be just vendors and food stands this week. Although Bush said they have a good amount of vendors currently signed up that will fill up Pruner Street.
“It’s just going to be a different year,” Bush said.
This week’s festivities will run from Monday, June 28 through Saturday, July 4 and will start at 6 p.m. each night, with the exception of the Fourth of July.
The annual Fourth of July parade will take place at 11 a.m. and Bush said it will have its usual route. Normally they will have bands in the parade, but no schools are participating due to the pandemic.
“The only bands we’re getting this year is the Clearfield Oriental and Claysburg American Legion,” Bush said.
The parade itself is led by the Osceola Mills Honor Guard. This year, instead of the Philipsburg-Osceola Mountie Marching Band being with them, they are putting out an invitation to honor all graduating seniors from P-O. Also honored in the parade will be seniors from the neighboring West Branch and Moshannon Valley school districts.
Bush said they are encouraging social distancing measures during parade and the entire week for that matter.
“The big thing is — that parade route, about 90 percent of those people are watching that parade sitting on their own front porch,” Bush said.
The July 4 festivities will then continue on Pruner Street, after the parade, at which there will be fireworks at 10 p.m., followed by prizes given away around midnight.
A press release was posted on the Columbia Fire Company’s Facebook page last week stating all vendors will be selling items in accordance with Center for Disease Control guidelines and sanitizing stations will be placed throughout.
They will still hold Bingo as they’ve usually done.
“We’re going to social distance as much as we can as far as the seating,” Bush said.
Bush said nightly entertainment was up in the air. As of Thursday night, Bush said there was a DJ and a band that was planning on donating time to entertain the fairgoers.
The entire press release regarding guidelines — along with up-to-the-minute updates — can be found on the fire company’s Facebook page. Bush also asked that seniors wishing to participate in Saturday’s parade can text him at 592-8243 to let him know they will be attending.