Jocelyn Brechbill crowned 78th Queen of Candles

By on July 10, 2019

It might have been the most spectacular Fourth of July celebration ever in Lititz.

Despite off-and-on threats of rain almost all day and completely rearranged launching and viewing sites for the fireworks, the crowd was treated to nearly an hour of light, color, and sound in Lititz Springs Park for the 202nd Fourth of July Celebration.

“The weather forecast gives us a window starting at 9:30, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Kellye Martin, who co-chaired the Fourth of July festivities with Holly DeKarske.
Sure enough, the fireworks started right on time and finished up around 10:20 p.m., giving the crowd a fantastic show choreographed to music that ranged from Queen to Sousa.

The 2019 Queen of Candles was crowned shortly before the fireworks display. Jocelyn Brechbill was selected by her classmates at Warwick High School to be honored as the 78th Queen of the Candles. The Queen of the Candles court included 11 other recent high school graduates.

Brechbill is the daughter of David and Katrina Brechbill, and is set to attend Temple University in the fall, where she will major in Journalism. The teen said that she was proud to be from Lititz because it is filled with people who are committed to serving others. She values being able to smile at a stranger on the street and know she’ll get a smile in return whenever she is in Lititz.

Each of the members of the court was asked about her first memory of the Lititz fireworks, and Brechbill recalled that in 2006 when she was 5, a storm created little fireballs raining down on the crowd. She admitted she was terrified of fireworks for at least a year, but got over her fear and looks back on fireworks fondly.

Jocelyn Brechbill is crowned 2019 Queen of Candles with a beautiful wreath of flowers by McKenzie Cossette, 2018 queen. They were greeted on stage by Pierce Henault, crown bearer and Rachel Gaver, flower girl. Photo by Dennis Bicksler.

Brechbill was crowned with a beautiful wreath of flowers by McKenzie Crossette, 2018 Queen of the Candles. Corset just completed her freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee in

Knoxville where she is majoring in business management with a minor in Spanish.

The 78th Queen of the Candles Pageant was sponsored by Listrak and arranged by the Lititz Woman’s Club. The emcee was Warwick High School principal Dr. Kristy Szobocsan, who explained that the Queen of the Candles was selected by her classmates through a secret ballot.

“The honor of being chosen the queen remains a secret, until the last moment of the pageant,” said Szobocsan, adding that she was proud to know all the young women who were on the court.
Right on cue, the newly crowned Brechbill lit her candle and passed the light to the members of the court. The dampness made a few candles flicker out, but the court simply relit their candles, passing the flame on to Lititz Boy Scouts, who then lit the huge display of some 7,000 candles grand Illumination of the Park.

The Queen of the Candles court included Rachall Adams, the daughter of Randy and Rebecca Adams, who will be Bloomsburg University to study physical therapy; Delaney Baringer, daughter of Jan and Lisa Baringer, set to attend West Chester University for business management and communications; and Trinity Bitting-Ellis, daughter of Michael and Lauren Bitting-Ellis, and sister of Abbie Bitting-Ellis, who plans to attend Widener University to study history and political science.

The court included Abbey Finkill, daughter of Rob and Robin Finkill, who will be attending Arcadia University to earn a doctorate in physical therapy; Mickayla Harris, daughter of Jason and Michelle Harris, who plays to attend University of Delaware to major in mechanical/biomedical engineering; and Leah Graybill, daughter of Darby and Janine Graybill, set to attend Shippensburg University to major in elementary and special education.

Right on cue, the newly crowned Brechbill lit her candle and passed the light to the members of the court. Photos by Dennis Bicksler.

“No community wants to go through the kind of things Lititz faced last fall. However, emergency personnel, school staff, community leaders, and everyday citizens showed that Lititz is more than just a “cool, small town.” It’s a family,” recalled Graybill.

The court also included Abigayle Knouse, daughter of Matthew and Kelly Knouse, set for Temple University to study psychology, cognitive neuroscience and journalism; Grace Longenderfer, daughter Dan and Sally Longenderfer, who will be attending West Chester University to study communications and psychology, and Emily MacNair, daughter of Scott and Jennifer MacNair. who plans to go to Millersville University to study art education.

This year’s Queen of the Candles court featured Jocelyn Brechbill, Abbey Finkill, Elizabeth VanScoten, Leah Graybill, Grace Longenderfer, Abbi Knouse, Emily MacNair; Brynne McNelis, Trinity Bitting-Ellis, Mickayla Harris, Delaney Baringer, Rachall Adams, and Rachel Gaver (flower girl), Pierce Henault (crown bearer).

The rest of the court included Brynne McNelis, daughter of Scott and Lisa McNelis, who will be attending Villanova University to study communications and business; and Elizabeth VanScoten, daughter of Barry and Amy VanScoten, who is set to go to James Madison University to major in elementary education and play field hockey.

The youngest members of the court were recent first grade graduates, Rachel Gaver as flower girl and Pierce Henault as crown bearer. Rachel is the daughter of Matt and MaryAnn Gaver. who said she was very excited to be chosen as flower girl for the Queen of Candles pageant. Pierce is the son of Christopher and Jenna Henault, who lists one of his favorite activities as working on math problems. Earlier in the day, the two youngsters led the Baby Parade, carrying the banner for the younger children who participated.

As Queen of the Candles, Jocelyn Brechbill passes her candlelight to Scouts on the ground to begin the grand illumination in the park.

Throughout the Fourth of July activities, the weather threatened to rain on the festivities. At one point, the Lititz Community Band played “Singing in the Rain,” to the tune of a brief rain shower.

The Eagles tribute band Best of the Eagles managed to perform many Eagles hits, despite a light rain. That didn’t deter dancers in the audience from rockin’ to tunes like “Heartache Tonight,” “Desperado,” and “Take It Easy.”

Thanks to the dozens of local sponsors who made the 202nd Fourth of July Celebration possible, along with a little cooperation from Mother Nature, Martin and DeKarske and their team of some 150 volunteers were able to take it easy after many months of planning and organizing.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at 

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