(All photos: Richard Finch Jr. for Tube City Almanac)
The grand marshal of McKeesport's 54th annual Salute to Santa parade needed planes, trains and automobiles to make it to the McKees Point Marina on Saturday morning -- but said she "wouldn't miss it for the world."
Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash, who now works as an analyst for CBS Sports and MSG Networks, was covering the New York Knicks from a studio in Manhattan on Friday night.
She took an overnight train to Philadelphia and a plane to Pittsburgh to make it to McKeesport in time to ride in the parade less than 12 hours later.
"As a young girl, I remember marching in this parade with the Black Berets," said Cash, who was born in McKeesport and grew up in the Harrison Village housing complex before leaving the city to attend the University of Connecticut. "It is a blessing and an honor to be back here in McKeesport," she said.
Unlike the past two years, no rain or sleet marred the parade, which got started under cloudy skies at 11 a.m.
McKeesport Area High School junior Joey Young (above) kicked off the event with a contemporary medley of the Christmas carol "Joy to the World" and the 1971 Three Dog Night rock song of the same name.
The dry weather brought out the largest crowd for the parade in several years, which lined Fifth Avenue from Market Street to Sinclair Street for the parade, which featured more than 60 marching units, including the McKeesport Area High School Tiger Band, members of the Serra Catholic High School Eagle Band, the West Mifflin Area High School Titan Band and Pittsburgh's Syria Shrine Clowns.
Along with McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and members of city council with their families, marchers also included Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (below), County Councilman Bob Macey, state Rep. Austin Davis, state Rep. Bill Kortz, state Sen. Jim Brewster and Port Vue Mayor Brian Hranics.
Musician, composer and arranger "Mikey Dee" Dorich, a McKeesport native and Peppermint Records recording artist, served as master of ceremonies.
Teegan Lewis of Mary of Nazareth School was crowned as the parade's princess, while Eycyius Csorba of McKeesport Area High School was crowned as queen.
All photos: Richard Finch Jr. for Tube City Almanac. For reprints, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published November 19, 2018.