End of an Era: Hamburg’s beloved King Frost Parade comes to an emotional close

In a heart-wrenching announcement Wednesday night on Facebook, organizers of the iconic King Frost Parade have revealed that the cherished tradition, which has graced the streets of Hamburg, PA since its revival in 1964, will no longer be part of the community’s calendar.

For nearly six decades, the King Frost Parade has been a touchstone for residents of Hamburg, Northern Berks County, and beyond. Held annually on the “last Saturday in October,” it has served as a nostalgic homecoming for many, a reminiscence of childhood, and a testament to the essence of Hamburg itself.

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In its heyday, the parade drew over 20 high school bands, a multitude of floats, marching groups, local dignitaries, and even celebrities. The event was televised and extensively covered by local newspapers, creating unforgettable memories for generations of parade-goers.

The Hamburg Jaycees, a civic organization comprised of young individuals aged 18-40, have been the driving force behind the parade’s resurgence and continued success. Their dedication to community involvement and enrichment, as encapsulated in their slogan, “service to humanity is the best work of life,” has been instrumental in maintaining this cherished tradition. The Jaycees, consisting of local business owners and volunteers, worked tirelessly alongside participants and local businesses to ensure the parade’s success, except for the unfortunate hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a heartfelt message, the organizers expressed their gratitude to the countless committees that have supported the King Frost Parade over the years. However, recent times have witnessed a significant decline in volunteerism and community engagement. Many long-standing traditions have faded into memory, reflecting changing priorities in today’s society.

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Regrettably, it has become apparent that the current committee, operating with a diminished number of volunteers for several years, is unable to organize a safe and high-quality parade. Organizers say the decision was made after careful consideration, consultation with advisors and mentors, and a last-ditch effort to rally support. Sadly, the response was limited, leaving the committee with no choice but to bring an end to this beloved tradition.

The organizers closed their letter with a heartfelt acknowledgment of the joy, excitement, and entertainment the King Frost Parade has brought to the community over the years, and they paid tribute to its enduring memory with the words, “LONG LIVE THE MEMORY OF KING FROST!”

As the community comes to terms with the end of an era, there’s no doubt that the King Frost Parade will forever hold a special place in the hearts and memories of Hamburg’s residents, serving as a poignant reminder of the power of tradition and community spirit.

Update: Organizers took to Facebook Thursday afternoon to thank everyone who reached out to them in the last 24 hours and offered to support the King Frost Parade.

“We did not expect such a response from the community. Since we have received such an overwhelming response, we have decided to set up a meeting for potential volunteers to discuss what would be needed to continue this Hamburg tradition this year.”

The meeting will take place on: Monday, September 18, 2023, 6:30 pm at Leibensperger Funeral Home, 65 S. 4th Street in Hamburg with parking in the back of the funeral home.

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Berks Weekly
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