Sisters 12-year-old Katie and 10-year-old Emily Pyle and their friend couldn’t go to the Somerfest parade looking ho-hum.

They showed up with glitter eye-shadow and lipstick and matching hair-dos. It’s a big night, after all.

“Afterward, we’ll all go to the playground,” 9-year-old Brianna Hoffman said, while Katie brushed her red hair.

The three, armed with plastic bags, scampered into the road to catch every last Tootsie Roll, as groups of marching bands, fire trucks and local businesses inched through town for the parade, which kicks off a weekend of Somerfest.

The Somerset girls joined hundreds of visitors who brought folding chairs and kicked back to watch the parade. They also had the chance to catch a few pieces of candy tossed by parade participants.

“I like when the twirlers go by,” Emily said, showing off a new baton.

Afterwards, many joined a long line to Somerfest, at the Laurel Arts Center, along South Harrison Avenue.

The 28th annual Somerfest, to be held through Sunday, was getting packed just 30 minutes after the parade, with families and couples eating, drinking and listening to music. Others were checking out crafts such as handmade jewelry.

“Soon, it will be wall-to-wall people,” said Laurel Arts President Fred Rosemeyer.

“The kids, especially, are having a ball.”

The event is the center’s biggest fundraiser, and it brought in around $32,000 last year.

Kimberly Krouse of Jenners and her boyfriend, Steven Emert of Somerset, were waiting for a band on Krouse’s first visit to Somerfest.

“She never saw it,” Emert explained. “I told her she should come – the music is good, but I do wish there was more ’80s music,” he said.

Festivities will continue today and Sunday with plenty of live music. A schedule is available online at

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