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Local queen denied request to participate in Mummers Parade

Miss Chesapeake State Teen told no because title not affiliated with Miss Maryland

October 22, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Jessica Madden of Hagerstown is Miss Chesapeake State Teen 2012. She was denied a position in the Alsatia Club Mummers Parade because her title is not associated with the Miss Maryland program.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Jessica Madden is a beauty queen without a float.

The 18-year-old Hagerstown resident and reigning Miss Chesapeake State Teen 2012 said she was disappointed recently when Alsatia Club officials told her that she wouldn’t be allowed to participate later this month in the organization’s 87th Mummers Parade.

“It’s my hometown,” Madden said. “I remember being there when I was little watching all the queens go by. I just always wanted to be in it.”

Parade Chairman James G. McCleaf II said the Alsatia Club denied Madden’s application because the Alsatia Club only offers space to queens and princesses who are affiliated with the Miss Maryland Pageant. He said Miss Chesapeake State — a competition associated with the Miss America Coed Pageant — doesn’t fall into that category.

“We get a ton of requests,” he said. “If we let everyone in the Mummers parade, we would be there until 1 or 2 in the morning.”

McCleaf said the Alsatia Club had a meeting last week to discuss Madden’s request and unanimously voted to turn it down. He said the club doesn’t want to set a precedent with Madden that others might use as leverage to participate in the future.

“If we bend it this time, it might open up the door,” McCleaf said.

The Alsatia Mummers Parade has been dubbed as the largest night-time parade on the East Coast. It is estimated that the event draws more than 10,000 people each year.

The inaugural parade was held in 1921. It was canceled a few years during World War II, and again last year because of an unseasonable snowstorm.

The 2012 parade is scheduled from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

One hundred and sixty-five organizations will participate in this year’s parade, McCleaf said, and that number doesn’t include the grand marshal, and beauty queens and princesses connected to the Miss Maryland Pageant.

Madden said she has ridden in other local parades as Miss Chesapeake State Teen 2012 and believed she would be a shoe-in for the Mummers.

“I was really upset,” she said. “I was really crying.”

Madden said she thought about asking one of the local fire companies to let her ride on one of its trucks, but she doesn’t want to be seen as a charity case.

At this point, she said she wants to continue serving as Miss Chesapeake State Teen 2012, in part, by volunteering to help senior citizens, participating in charity walks and gathering stuffed animals to give to less-fortunate children.

Madden said she graduated from Washington County Technical High School last spring and works as a certified nanny. She said she intends to study childhood development at Towson University next year.

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