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Hancock scares up parade for 50 ghoulish years

October 29, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Susie Blankenship and her family have been coming to the Hancock Halloween Parade since before she can remember.

"We've been going to the parade since the womb," said Blankenship, 39, of Hancock. Her father, Herbert Young, had been a band leader for 25 years in the parade, she said.

"Hancock doesn't have a lot of gatherings," she said. That makes it even more special, she said.

"There's a little kid inside all of us," she said.

The parade has changed a lot since its humble beginnings in 1947.

Back then, the Rotary Club wanted to find something for kids to do other than be on the streets on Halloween, says parade organizer and Mayor Daniel Murphy. It started out with two bands and some games for children such as bobbing for apples.

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The 50th anniversary parade Wednesday night included a cast of more than 1,000, with thousands more lining Main Street. Some started setting up their lawn chairs two hours before the parade started.

Tammy Sweger, 34, every year, she and her family scope out the same spot, bundle up in blankets, and watch the scores of bands, floats, classic cars and majorette groups twirl, drum and skip their way through town.

"We look forward to it every year," said Sweger, 34, of Waterfall, Pa. about 45 minutes north of McConnellsburg in Fulton County.

She marched in the parade when she was in the McConnellsburg High School Band, she said.

"It's a fantastic parade," said David Ott, 53, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

"We're a small community so you know a majority of the people in the parade," said his wife, Vickie Ott, 45.

"This is a huge social event. You visit with the people you haven't seen in a while," she said.

Several organizations raised money through bake sales and selling hot chocolate, steamers, hot dogs and funnel cakes.

"We're sitting out here freezing for our Spanish Club," said Jessika Adams, 17, of Southern Fulton High School in Fulton County, Pa. The group is raising money for a trip to Mexico, she said. All things considered, they'd rather be in Mexico, she said.

Perhaps the most popular part of the parade is also the shortest - the majorette groups.

"I like the little kids. They're really cute to watch," said Kathy Mellott, 33, of Hancock.

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