Ghouls, goblins and Girls Inc. in Mummers' Parade lineup

October 29, 1998

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

see Parade route

The girls have been practicing for weeks. About 50 members of Girls Inc. of Washington County are getting ready for the 74th Alsatia Mummers' Parade Saturday, Oct. 31. It's a tradition for Hagerstown and for Girls Inc., which has been marching in the parade for a long time.

"We came in first a good many years," says Ruth Llewellyn, who was executive director for 34 years. Girls Inc. used to be called Hagerstown Girls Club.

--cont. from lifestyle--

"It's so important," she says. The children enjoyed it, and always were interested in the thousands of spectators. It was hard to tell who was looking at whom, Llewellyn says.


She recalls tiny tumblers starting the parade with white gloves that were black by the end of the evening. She remembers wrapping the children in garbage bags to keep their blue-and-white uniforms from getting wet. There were times when she gave the white turtleneck shirt off her back to a child who had forgotten hers.

The Girls Inc. members will be parading through town to the tune of "We Need a Little Christmas" from the Broadway musical "Mame."

They'll be wearing skirts made by a Girls Inc. staff member and carrying big candy canes, says Maureen Grove, executive director of the organization which offers activities for girls ages 5 to 18. There are about 120 members ranging in age from 5 to 15.

The Girls Inc. group is one of more than 200 units in the 1998 parade. There will be bands, commercial and amateur floats, majorettes, drill teams. The Iowa-based Coors Brewing Co. team of six Belgian horses will make the longest journey to the 2 1/2-mile parade, according to Alsatia Club member Larry Artz.

The parade is dedicated this year to the late Louis L. Goldstein, Maryland's longtime comptroller, a Mummers' parade perennial.

What is a mummer, anyway?

A mummer is a person who dresses up in a mask or disguise. Anyone can be a mummer, and any mummer can march in the parade by signing up at the Alsatia Club registration table near the start of the parade on Oak Hill Avenue. The club reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone in a costume considered too offensive. There is no entry fee.

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