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It’s time to take the red tape off parades

Ahhh, summertime! It’s a season of coming together as a community for festivals, happy events and parades — or at least it was until the past year or so.

That’s when the state Department of Transportation began enforcing regulations that require hosting municipalities and organizations to sign off to indemnify the state from any lawsuit arising from parades and events that use state roads.

There are many state roads doubling as streets in communities throughout our region, and in many cases these are major streets that are the most suitable or ideal for a parade. This makes it difficult to host a parade that doesn’t involve a state road.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the process has become a cumbersome one.

The permits are no longer handled locally but at PennDOT’s central office in Harrisburg.

“It is my understanding that said permit applications must be approved not only by PennDOT but the governor himself,” South Williamsport Borough Manager Steven W. Cappelli told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

Huh? Doesn’t the state’s chief executive officer have enough to handle?

Frankly, we have missed the parades — and other events — whether it be to commemorate Memorial Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Christmas or other occasions.

These community events bring people together.

These events bring us moments of joy that we cherish into adulthood and often draw us back to the places we call home.

They have become an essential part of who we are. Until, of course, stricter enforcement of regulations comes along.

Leave it to bureaucratic red tape to make something as simple as hosting a harmless parade get a little sticky.

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