Alsatia Mummers Parade takes over downtown for 93rd annual event
Downtown Hagerstown streets will be taken over by festivities of the Alsatia Club’s 93rd annual Mummers Parade from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.
While the bands, design of the floats, themes, and identity of the people participating won’t be revealed until the day of, other well-known regulars will be in attendance.
“Old players like the Barbara Ingram School (for the Arts) will be there and their theme is unknown,” James McCleaf II, parade chairman, said.
This year’s grand marshals are Bob and Charlie Startzman of Startzman’s Hardware.
Bob started the business in 1959 and his son, Charlie, has been running it for years and plans soon to close the landmark store.
“So we wanted to honor them, they were that business that was there forever in the South end,” McCleaf said.
Since its inception on Halloween in 1921, the Mummers’ Parade has been canceled only four times — during World War II because of the blackouts in Hagerstown and in 2011 due to a snow storm in October.
“The Mummers Parade was originally started because some of the members came out, what was then the Alsatia Club, and the rumor was they were egged or something was thrown at them and they decided at that point that the children needed something to do on Halloween night, so that’s why they started the Alsatia’s Mummers Parade (which) was to give kids something to do during Halloween so they wouldn’t get in trouble,” McCleaf said.
Around 10,000 participants are expected to come out to the parade and the amount of participation always depends on the weather, McCleaf said.
“A lot of people from Washington County, the Tri-State area, Baltimore, Washington, Virginia come in for the parade, it’s kind of a homecoming for Hagerstown,” he said.
Part of what makes the parade unique is its outlet to showcase local talent.
“This parade is the largest event that goes on in the county every year, but it is the largest event for your child or group to be able to perform in front of that many people. It’s televised, it’s live streamed and this is for the moms (and) dads that drag their kids to practices,” McCleaf said. “This is for the grandparents and that’s what this parade is really about. It’s really about the people of Washington County (and the) Tri-State area showing what they do, whether it’s a cheerleading group, or a football group, Girl Scout, junior firefighter group, what it is, they’re showing what they do all year long and they’re performing in front of the largest crowd they’ll probably ever perform in front of their entire life so it gives them an opportunity to show what they do and for the parents and grandparents to be able to watch what they do.”
Most of all, it’s an event to help people become aware of the positivity within the community.
“It’s an opportunity for people to be able to see their kids, to be able to see what’s going on in the county, the good stuff, that you always don’t get to hear about,” McCleaf said.
He appreciates community members’ efforts in making the parade possible.
“Without the community support we would not be able to put this parade on whether it’s the planning people, the schools, state, (and) kids,” he said. “Everyone that plays a factor in making this parade and especially the volunteers, not just of the club, but all the volunteers that helped throughout the night. It’s just a wonderful community event and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Top photo: Mummers during last year’s Alsatia Mummers Parade in downtown Hagerstown. (Herald-Mail file photo)