Consolidated Fire Association celebrates return of the Bordentown Halloween Parade

The Consolidated Fire Association held its 50th annual Bordentown Halloween Parade on Oct. 30 in Bordentown. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONSOLIDATED FIRE ASSOCIATION
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The Consolidated Fire Association held its 50th annual Bordentown Halloween Parade on Oct. 30 in Bordentown. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONSOLIDATED FIRE ASSOCIATION

There’s always a certain buzz in the air when late October comes around in downtown Bordentown and it’s time for the Bordentown Halloween Parade.

That’s how Bordentown native and the parade’s chairperson, Katy McGowan, sees it.

“It’s always an interesting day,” McGowan said of the Bordentown Halloween Parade. “People are bringing out lawn chairs to sit out and watch the parade. There’s parties going on at peoples’ houses. People from out of town come to watch.”

That buzz was not seen or felt last year as the Consolidated Fire Association was unable to hold the Bordentown Halloween Parade due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was felt strongly this year, however, as McGowan said the people of Bordentown helped “bring back the past” with the 2021 edition of the Bordentown Halloween Parade held on Oct. 30.

Around 62 groups of people marched through the streets of Bordentown City in different types of costumes and on floats and fire trucks to celebrate the 50th running of the Bordentown Halloween Parade.

From the participants in the parade to the spectators coming out to watch and join in the festivities, firefighters from the Consolidated Fire Association believed it was the biggest crown they’ve seen in 10 years, McGowan said.

“Everybody in town was looking forward to it,” she said. “People were happy to have the parade back.”

McGowan is a social member of the Consolidated Fire Association and has helped run the event the last 12 years.

She took over for her father, Steve, who helped the Consolidated Fire Association create the Bordentown Halloween Parade back in 1970.

McGowan’s father, along with Rick Klinge, were co-chairs of the event that was created by the Consolidated Fire Association to show the fire company’s appreciation to the City of Bordentown for helping build its firehouse on Crosswick Street.

Being able to honor her father’s memory by running the Bordentown Halloween Parade the last 12 years has meant a lot to McGowan, who says it’s not just a huge thing for her family but for the firefighters and their families as well.

Prizes were awarded at the parade to groups by judges in six different categories.

Best Business Float went to Rising Star Voice Studio. The Bordentown Historical Society won the award for Best Adult Float. The Saint Paul School of Burlington County took home Best Youth Float. Girl Scout Troop 24126 secured Best Marching Group and the Special Judges Award was given out to Girl Scout Troop 2349.

The final award given out was the Steve McGowan Memorial Award. McGowan said the award made in honor of her father was given out to the group or person who had the most “simplistic” costume.

“My dad would always tell people it’s Halloween. Just put the kids into a costume and it’s a float,” she said.

This year’s Steve McGowan Memorial Award went to Prince Street Punks.

The Grand Marshall for the 2021 Bordentown Halloween Parade was Steve Martin, who was a teacher at Clara Barton Elementary School and MacFarland Intermediate School from 1981 to 2007. Martin also owned and operated his own martial arts studio in the city.

Following in the footsteps of the Cranberry Festival having a successful return earlier this fall, McGowan was thrilled that the Consolidated Fire Association was able to run a safe and fun parade this year and help the Bordentown community celebrate a return to normalcy with a great October of festivities.

“We were able to finish out the month strong,” she said.