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Tips for a masterful Mummers Parade

October 30, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

o Click here for parade route, street closing information

The Mummers Parade will be held one hour earlier this year and will feature the Mighty Sound of Maryland -- the University of Maryland's 230-member marching band that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The parade will have 201 units, making it one of the bigger Mummers Parades the Alsatia Club has held, said Jim McCleaf II, parade chairman. The parade will feature 51 floats and 23 marching bands, including all of the Washington County public high and middle schools' marching bands.

The grand marshals are members of the Federal Little League 11-12 All-Star team and the Hagerstown Pony League 14-year-old All-Star team. Each team competed in its league's World Series this past summer.

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The parade's earlier start time is an attempt to stem some of the problems after the parade such as public drunkenness and vandalism, said Bob Hart, special events coordinator for the Hagerstown Police. Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith suggested the earlier start.

WHAT: Alsatia Club's 84th Mummers Parade

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. Rain or shine.

WHERE: Parade starts on North Potomac Street at Charles Street and ends at Howard Street, although most units continue marching to South Hagerstown High School, where their buses await.

COST: Admission is free, however there is a cost for seating provided by the Alsatia Club or other organizations along the route.

SEATING: A seat at the Alsatia Club's general admission bleacher seating in front of Bester Elementary School costs $5. Reserved chairs cost $8 and are available in three places -- along North Potomac, at Public Square and near Bester Elementary School. To reserve seating, contact The Maryland Theatre at 301-790-2000 or go to www.mdtheatre.org. The theater's box office will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday for buying and picking up tickets. Alsatia Club members will start selling tickets at 5 p.m. Saturday in front of The Maryland Theatre and at 4:30 p.m. in front of Bester Elementary School and at the Point, between where Potomac Avenue meets Oak Hill Avenue and Potomac Avenue meets Hamilton Boulevard.

People can set out their own chairs after 8 a.m. Saturday, but cannot move or block seating provided by the Alsatia Club.

FORECAST: Partly cloudy with a low around 38 degrees on Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

PRE-PARADE ACTIVITY: The crowning of the Alsatia Mummers Parade queen will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Alsatia Club, 141 W. Washington St. Free admission.

TRAFFIC: Traffic: During breaks in the parade, police will permit traffic to cross Potomac Street at Antietam and Franklin streets.

If you live in the North End near the parade route, be aware you won't have easy access in and out of the neighborhood for a few hours as the units line up for and start the parade. At the end of the parade, some South End streets will be congested. Streets expected to be busy include Hamilton Boulevard, Prospect Avenue, Fairground Avenue, Manila Avenue, Downsville Road, First Street and Pope Avenue, Hart said.

JUDGING: Parade judges will be in front of Bester Elementary School. There are 13 categories of judging. Marching, musical groups and floats will be judged by eight members of the Great Lakes Judging Association, which is part of the Federation of Contest Judges, said Bob Brady, Great Lakes' chief judge. All of the music judges have a degree in music. The marching judges have military experience.

SECURITY: There will be at least 100 Hagerstown Police officers, seven Washington County Sheriff's Office officers, and 15 Hagerstown Fire Police volunteers providing security at the parade. There will be an officer on every corner and one or two officers at every intersection from Oak Hill Avenue to Wilson Boulevard, Hart said. There also will be bike patrol officers along the parade route.

If anyone has an emergency, they can notify the closest officer.

LAWS AND RULES: Every year, Hagerstown Police end up having vehicles towed because they were parked illegally along the parade route, so watch for signs and check the parking restrictions listed below.

Open containers of alcohol are not permitted outdoors unless they are in one of the designated outdoor cafe areas some downtown restaurants have.

Do not block anyone's driveway.

Don't throw anything off the North Potomac Street parking deck.

Silly string and laser pointers are not permitted and will be confiscated by police.

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