"It's not a parade because no one is in step, but (it's) more like a stroll," said retired Army Col. Phil Petter, as he welcomed the 2014 Flag March participants as they arrived at the Pennsylvania College of Technology and gathered around the large flag at its entrance.
The march began at Trinity Place, near the Peter Herdic Transportation Museum, and walked from their to the flag on the campus just off Maynard Street.
Led by a Marine Corps color guard, the march featured Scout troops, families, children in strollers, politicians and even a few family dogs.
A young boy and his father wave a flag as the city’s annual Flag March passes by Saturday evening.
The 2014 Flag March passes by Trinity Episcopal Church on Third Street. The march began by the Peter Herdic Transportation Museum and proceeded to the flag on the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus, where it concluded with a brief ceremony during which the Star Spangled Banner was played and the Pledge of Allegiance recited.
Once the throng finished filing into the parking lot, the Repasz Band began the national anthem, and Petter gave a brief history of the flag.
"The colors of the flag are red, white and blue. This is because the United States basically came from Great Britain, so we just adopted these colors from them," he said.
Petter also said the first flag was flown in 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine.
Former Williamsport mayor Steve Lucasi was one of the featured speakers. For Lucasi, a World War II veteran, the large turnout for the event had particular significance.
"This truly is a beautiful situation we share tonight. Everybody around the world knows about Williamsport because of the Little League World Series," he said. "But there's also another reason. You, the wonderful people. The people are the reason everyone knows about Williamsport."
Lucasi was a recipient of a "Tony" award from Tony DiSalvo, who thought of the idea of the march back when Lucasi was mayor. With Lucasi's approval, DiSalvo conducted the first march and it still is going strong 31 years later.
"He said this was something we have to do," DiSalvo said.
DiSalvo also presented awards to the largest Scout troop, which this year was Troop 38, with 35 members marching. The largest family marching was the Fortin family, of Williamsport, with 13 people.
Junior Girl Scout Troop 60621 was recognized as the largest marching youth group with 12 members and the Counsil family received a special "Tony" award for the best decorated stroller or wagon.
"I've never seen so many young people, and this is the highest number of Boy Scouts ever," DiSalvo said.
Another special "Tony" award went to Rose Campana, who has attended every Flag March except for one when she fell ill.
Her son, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana shared with the crowd his mother's recovery from a heart attack, during which she was dead for 19 minutes but did not suffer any brain damage.
"Miracles do happen," Campana said.
At 7 p.m., all in attendance turned toward Pennsylvania College of Technology flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, in observation of the national event.
Ice cream sandwiches donated by Schneider's Dairy were distributed by Boy Scouts to the crowd. Wegmans also donated 1,000 flags and 1,000 bottles of water for the event.
The Repasz Band recognized major branches of the military by playing each branch's official song. Past and present members of the service were encouraged to stand during the playing of their branch's song.
The band also played a number of patriotic selections such as "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "God Bless America" throughout the event.
DiSalvo was pleased with the turnout, which he estimated at 700.
"The number of people this year was gratifying because of the number of young people in attendance," he said.