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Groovin’ on Main Street – Preparin’ for ALF

Friday, September 22, 2023 @ 08:09 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

image - 2023-09-22T084532.768CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A sure sign of an approaching Autumn Leaf Festival was a recent walk-through on Main Street by a group that included members of Clarion Borough Police, Clarion County Office of Emergency Services, Clarion Area Chamber of Commerce, Clarion Borough Council, and Clarion Borough Maintenance Department.

The group was reviewing physical, safety, and security needs for the 70th Annual Allegheny Toyota Autumn Leaf Festival to be held from September 30 to October 8, 2023.

While the theme of “Groovin’ into Autumn” guides this year’s ALF, planning is required all year to make sure it is a safe and attractive first of all for all.

“We do these meetings yearly,” Chamber Executive Director Tracy Becker told after the walk-through.

“We usually do two to three of these a year right before the festival to go through kind of and make sure about what’s being put down, where to block streets off on certain days, and things like that.”
Becker said this was the third meeting with the County OES; another is planned for next week.

“We’ll do it a couple of days during the festival,  going over the weather forecasts, and if we have anybody big coming in for the parade like the governor, that would require extra security.”

Clarion Police Chief William Peck supervises the local police effort, and Jeff Smathers, Clarion County Director of Public Safety, said specific security plans and emergency response plans are confidential. Homeland Security suggests some procedures because of the large crowds on both Craft Day and Parade Day.

Just as security and emergency procedures operate in the background, Clarion Borough is responsible for physical operations.

“The borough maintenance department and the Police Department help us close the roads, but then they also open the roads,” Becker said. “We get some of the barricades locally through Payload and M&B Services, but OES can provide us with other ones from other resources. We just needed to make sure we had enough.”

The Independence Health Systems “Tournament of Leaves Parade” will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2023, showcasing marching bands, floats, and community organizations.

For more information, contact the Clarion Area Chamber at 814-226-9161 or

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