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(File photo by John Barna for Tube City Almanac)
One of the largest Christmas parades in Western Pennsylvania gets underway at 11 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 19) on Fifth Avenue in Downtown McKeesport.
The 52nd annual "Salute to Santa" parade begins at the Palisades Ballroom, Fifth Avenue and Water Street, and ends at McKeesport City Hall at the corner of Fifth and Sinclair.
Master of ceremonies this year will be "Mikey Dee" Dorich, who serves a similar role at McKeesport's International Village, and weather permitting, live video of the parade will be streamed by Tube City Online's Internet radio station, WMCK.FM.
The grand marshal of this year's parade is Gerald "Puddin" Grayson, varsity boys' basketball coach and former girls' basketball coach at McKeesport Area High School. Grayson is a lifelong city resident who was a standout running back at McKeesport High and Boise State University in the 1960s.
"The Salute to Santa parade is a great kickoff to the holiday season for the entire Mon Valley," McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said. "For 52 years, McKeesport has welcomed spectators from across the region to be a part of our community as we kindle our Christmas spirit for the season ahead."
A children's party, refreshments and an opportunity to visit with Santa will follow the parade at 12 noon at the Palisades, where the queen and princess of the parade will be crowned.
Refreshments, including hot dogs, cookies and beverages, are donated by McKeesport Hospital Foundation, Schwebel's Bakery, Eat'n Park and Turner's Dairy, a spokeswoman said.
The parade is expected to have more than 75 units, including holiday floats, marching bands, dance troupes, fire and emergency vehicles and more.
Participation is open to community groups, student organizations, churches, businesses and local officials.
Originally published November 15, 2016.