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Mummers come early to register for annual event

November 03, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

It was 5 p.m. - two hours before the Alsatia Club's Mummers' Parade was to start - and sign-up was just under way.

Dolly Smith, 36, of Hagerstown, stood up, walked to the registration table in front of Bill's Other Yard Sale on Oak Hill Avenue and announced that she was an Oreo.

She was the first mummer.

Denny and Sue Kelbaugh of Fairplay, who ran the check-in table, gave Smith No. 11 to put on over her costume. The Alsatia Club's rule is odd numbers for "comic" costumes and even numbers for "elaborate" costumes.

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Wearing a white shirt, pants and sneakers, Smith slipped on the crowning pieces of her costume: cardboard circles colored light black, with the word "Oreo" lettered thick, front and back.

"It's fun," she said. "It gives me something to do. I don't like being bored."

All mummers must be in costume. They must walk the entire parade route. They may not give out candy or pamphlets.

Elaine Lyon, 41, of Hagerstown, signed up her women's softball team, called Drama Club, even though they hadn't arrived. Team members dress up for Halloween every year, but had never marched in the parade before, she said.

The players dressed up as characters from "Toy Story 2," including Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Slinky Dog. Lyon was part of the Slinky Dog costume.

Two clowns registered next. Not only was this the first time Norm Conrad and Gene Albert marched in the parade, it was their first time as clowns.

Conrad, 42, of Falling Waters, W.Va., and Albert, 51, of Hagerstown, work together at Historical Reproductions, a business on Pennsylvania Avenue that deals in antique bibles and historic prints.

Two other co-workers were to join them on their red bicycle built for four - two in the front, two in the back.

A generator powered a tube light atop the bicycle's red and white canopy and a stereo system on the front.

As the Chicken Dance song played while Conrad made the final preparations, he said the play list is extensive: "Play That Funky Music (White Boy)," "Disco Duck," "YMCA," "Celebration" and more. He demonstrated sound effects it would play, too - beeps made by the spaceship on the cartoon show "The Jetsons," a mooing cow, Three Stooges' noises.

Spider-Man, Cinderella and Hiawatha were next.

When they lived in Hagerstown, the Brereton family marched in the parade every year. Even moving to Gettysburg, Pa., 10 years ago hasn't stopped them; they've participated in almost every parade since.

This year, Christina Brereton, 15, was Cinderella - before the ball. She wore a purple cloak over a full-length white apron. She had a soot smudge on each cheek.

Brandon Brereton, 13, was Spider-Man, complete with a mask.

Their mother, Teresa Brereton, was Hiawatha. She wore a white dress and a white feather in her hair. She carried a baby doll swaddled in a white blanket on a cradleboard.

Teresa Brereton said this year was different because her oldest child, 20-year-old Justin Mason, wasn't with the rest of the family. He's serving with the U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

At 5:30 p.m., a bus dropped off about a dozen Alsatia marshals. As the marshals adjusted their white sashes, Todd Roberts, 40, of Hagerstown, stepped up to register two people.

His son, Kian Roberts, 9, was dressed as Ollie from "Hoosiers."

Tim Moyer, 18, an exchange student from Nuremberg, Germany, staying with the Roberts family this year, was dressed as Shooter from the same movie.

In the movie, Shooter was an assistant coach who had a drinking problem. Todd Roberts pointed at Moyer's pants as he turned around. He had a mock bottle of liquor in a brown paper bag - just as Shooter would have.

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