Parade gets a weather break

October 28, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN - If you asked him Wednesday, James McCleaf would have said he was less than optimistic about the chances of a dry Alsatia Mummers Parade this year.

But the Alsatia Club's president and chairman said his concerns about the weather vanished Saturday morning as the clouds that brought rain to the area for the last few days gave way to bright, sunny skies.

"I'd say this year, we got pretty lucky," McCleaf said.

Potomac Street was lined with chairs by Saturday at 11 a.m. as people marked their spots for the city's Halloween parade.

Peggy Phelps, 62, of Williamsport, was putting her chair down near the square at noon. She said she and her husband, Martin, come out every year during the day to stake out a spot along the street.


"If you want to get a good seat, it's what you have to do," Phelps said.

By 6 p.m., the revelers were out in full force.

Vendors tacked back and forth across the street, selling stuffed animals and balloons out of shopping carts.

The Square Cup Cafe set up a makeshift stand outside its shop at the corner of Potomac and Washington streets, selling hot coffee out of thermoses.

At 6:15 p.m., a bank clock showed the temperature was 60 degrees, a sharp contrast to last year's low 40s.

While some people wrapped themselves in blankets, others were content to walk around in T-shirts and shorts.

People were seated three and four rows deep along stretches of Potomac Street when the parade began at 7 p.m.

Almost 10,000 people participated in the parade, which featured about 190 floats, bands and other groups, said McCleaf, who said the parade draws 100,000 spectators annually.

Amy Handelbradt hoisted her son, Jacob, on her shoulders as the parade's first group, the Mount Hebron High School marching band, came down the street.

As the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, Toys for Tots, Cub Scout Pack 58 and other groups passed by, police kept watch, spectators munched on burgers and french fries, and vendors hawked glow sticks for $1.

Some parade watchers peered out of second- and third-story windows.

People erupted in cheers as young gymnasts from the 4-Star Athletic Complex in Williamsport back flipped down the street.

"Did you see that?" yelled 5-year-old Tyler King before chasing his brother down the sidewalk with a plastic sword.

Marching bands contracted and expanded like accordions during quick stops in the parade, while local firefighters took the opportunity to turn on the siren for the crowd.

Williamsport High School's Hailee Growden was chosen as the queen of the parade at the Alsatia Club's headquarters earlier in the day.

Growden won the crown over nine other local high school homecoming queens by selecting a box with a golden necklace inside.

A Hagerstown Police Department officer said Saturday night that no problems had erupted.

"It's been pretty good this year," she said.

Parade on TV

If you weren't on hand for Saturday's Alsatia Mummers Parade, or if you would like to see it again, Antietam Cable will offer several chances to see it.

Antietam Cable will air the parade on Channel 19 on the following dates.

Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.

The parade also will be available for viewing on Antietam Digital Cable's Local Video On Demand on Friday, Nov. 2.

It will be available on on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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