HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The holiday season is kicking off in the Midstate; parade-goers brought chairs, blankets, and a few reservations about security.
Parade organizers were up early, inflating seven large balloons — from a baseball to a dinosaur — in Riverfront Park.
Spectators were up early, too. Nicole Lindemuth of Harrisburg set up camp on Second Street at 8:45, more than three hours before it started.
“Gotta get here early for a good seat,” she said.
Lindemuth has come to the parade just about every year since she was a kid. This year, she thought about staying home.
“We did talk about it,” she said, “but we’re not going to stop living our life and doing the things that we love because we’re scared of something.”
The attacks in Paris weigh on everyone’s mind. Richard Johnson went to the parade for the first time with his granddaughter.
“You can’t worry about it all the time,” he said, “but you have to be vigilant.”
Officers patrolled the streets before the parade started; city, state and Capitol police all pitched in.
“It’s good that they have the presence here. Just a little while ago I saw a police dog,” Johnson said.
The explosive-sniffing K9 continued making the rounds throughout the parade, checking trash cans along the sidewalks, and officers mingled with crowds.
Police worried anti-refugee protesters might disrupt the festivities, but they didn’t.
Thousands of spectators rounded out the parade incident free.
“We’re Americans,” Lindemuth said, “and we’re going to enjoy our country and not let somebody else take it from us.”