This wasn't the lasting memory the Alsatia Club wanted for its golden anniversary.
The club, celebrating 100 years, was forced on Saturday to cancel its wildly popular annual Mummers Parade for the first time in nearly a century — minus the blackout years of World War II, according to James G. McCleaf II, the parade chairman.
The first Alsatia Mummers Parade was in 1921, according to the club.
Each year, the parade draws thousands of spectators who cheer for marching bands, community floats and mummers — costumed marchers — along Md. 65.
This year, 4 inches of surprisingly early snow won out and the parade was canceled. Parade organizers had to consider the chance that the storm could create dangerous conditions.
McCleaf said Saturday afternoon that the number of downed wires and tree limbs in the region made the club's choice look wise.
"We definitely made the best decision we've ever made," he said.
As late as Friday, even as the storm forecast took hold, organizers still were hoping the parade could go on. McCleaf said the parade, with nearly 215 units and almost 40 floats, was expected to be one of the biggest ever.
The expectation of bad weather didn't dampen public interest, either. Of the roughly 2,000 tickets sold for prime seats along the parade route, about half were sold after the likelihood of a snowstorm became clear, McCleaf said.
Ticket purchases will be refunded starting Tuesday.
Parade organizers met with city of Hagerstown officials Saturday morning to consider their options.
Afterward, Karen Giffin, the city's director of community affairs, said the city would have worked with the club if it wanted to move the parade to a different day.
In the end, though, that was too daunting and unwieldy, McCleaf said later. It would have required changes with several city and state departments.
Postponing the parade, for example, to next weekend would have excluded a number of high school bands with other commitments, he said.
The Alsatia Club plans to work on backup plans in the future.
Giffin noted that the weather hasn't been kind to big local events this year. Rain caused a few delays at the Western Maryland Blues Fest and a fireworks show. Augustoberfest was held the day of an East Coast hurricane.
Now, record October snow.
McCleaf said the Alsatia Club hasn't considered getting weather insurance like the city has for Blues Fest. He said the city has more money at stake in its event.