MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – For the man in charge of putting together Mercer’s annual Memorial Day 500, it’s been an emotional few days.
After posting on social media last week that the parade was canceled this year due to the pandemic, the event chairman said just within the last 24 hours, state officials said he could apply for a permit, and they would expedite his request.
“We’re gonna try to have as much of a parade as we can, the way it seems anyway right not,” said Mercer Memorial Day 500 Chairman Aaron Sines. “But, it’s very fluid. It’s changing. This is the information I have now. If something changes next week, who knows?”
Plans for a memorial ceremony at Citizen’s Cemetery as well as a 5-K race were still scheduled this year, but those who look forward to the parade, which marches from the local post office past the Mercer County Courthouse and down to the graveyard, were glad to hear the news.
Jim Hicks runs J Hicks on the Square. His restaurant would be closed on Memorial Day but looks forward to the events.
“We come up. We enjoy it. We talk to the folks. It’s one of the few days we get to mingle with the people of the town without being on the job,” Hicks said.
Sines normally starts working on the Mercer 500 in the fall. He’ll now have about six weeks, providing the state approves everything.
“It’s gonna be a challenge. There’s not doubt about it,” Sines said.
His goal is to have as big of a parade as he can to honor local veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.