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Rain stops, Mummers' Parade goes on

November 02, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

The 71st Alsatia Mummers' Parade got a break from Mother Nature on Saturday night when anticipated showers stopped well before start time, but many spectators apparently stayed home for fear of getting drenched.

Alsatia Club officials estimated 50,000 people attended the parade. They had expected between 100,000 and 150,000 spectators.

"We think that the weather might have scared some people, but they missed a great parade," said Tim Mayberry, club member.

"I'm real happy it stopped raining. It worked out for everyone," said Fran Sullivan, of Saint James Village. Sullivan was enjoying her first Mummers' Parade from the fourth floor of the downtown parking deck where her family sought shelter in case of rain.

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"We liked the view so we stayed here," said Sullivan, whose daughter, Kristen, 13, was playing the tuba for the E. Russell Hicks Middle School Marching Band.

Besides providing protection from the elements, the deck gave Sullivan a better view, allowing her to see more of the parade as it approached, she said.

The deck was a popular spot in case of rain.

Fadonya Shelton, 24, of Hagerstown, said he's been watching the parade for 14 years and the deck is his favorite spectator spot.

This year he shared the view with his children, Erica, 3, and Josh, 1, who got a kick out of the bands, McGruff the Crime Dog and Smokey Bear.

The bands also were a favorite of Shelton's friend, Michelle Hensell.

Hensell, 19, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she wished she had marched in a parade when she played for her middle school's band.

Bryan Harris, 49, of Hagerstown, also picked the parking deck to keep his family and his camcorder clear of potential rain.

"It's a shame they didn't have a better turnout," said Harris, who hadn't been to the parade in 20 years.

Those who did brave a cold and wet forecast, instead found comfortable temperatures in the high 50s.

"It was amazing. It was surprising because earlier today I thought we would not be coming," said Phyrne Higman, 58, of Maugansville.

Higman's granddaughter, Casey Davis, 8, of Williamsport, said her favorite part of the parade was when one of the Keystone Kopps cars broke down.

The miniature antique car had to be towed the rest of the parade by a miniature tow truck.

The cars are driven by older members of the Ali Ghan Shrine.

Old favorites like the Keystone Kopps drew lots of applause as well as some new acts.

A group of guys on bicycles performed tricks, such as standing on the seat and handlebars while riding down Potomac Street or standing the bike on its back wheel and riding it like a pogo stick.

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