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Ten things you probably didn't know about Alsatia Club, parade

October 24, 2012|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Alsatia Mummers Parade will be Saturday, Oct. 27, in downtown Hagerstown.
Herald-Mail file photo

As they have generations after generations, area residents will line the streets of downtown Hagerstown Saturday evening to take part in the pageantry, the party atmosphere, the tradition that is the Alsatia Mummers Parade.

This weekend marks the 87th year for the event that is billed as the largest nighttime parade on the East Coast, with more than 10,000 participants and an estimated 75,000 spectators.

Throughout the decades, it has become as much a social event as a source of entertainment, a time to reconnect with friends along the parade route and attend open houses in nearby neighborhoods.

But how much do parade-goers really know about this Hagerstown ritual?

Why is it held and what in the world is a mummer?

Here's a chance to test your knowledge with a bit of trivia about the Mummers Parade and its sponsor, the Alsatia Club.



1. The first Alsatia Mummers Parade was held in 1921. What was the reason for holding a parade?

According to the Alsatia Club's website, during a meeting in the fall of 1921, club members voiced concern about property damage and personal injuries that were increasingly occurring as the result of pranksters on Halloween. It was decided that a celebration activity on Halloween night might attract people and eliminate some of the vandalism.

2.  The Alsatia Club sponsors the parade, but what does the word Alsatia mean?

The Alsatia Club was founded by 11 young men who gathered in a local pharmacy. To keep them from gathering in his place of business, the pharmacist, D.C. Aughinbaugh, offered them a meeting place on his second floor. The group selected a name that implied a hideaway — Alsatia, which was a district in London that was a sanctuary to a gang of scoundrels.



3.  The parade route starts from what part of the city and ends in what other part of the city?

It begins in the north end of Hagerstown and ends in the south end.



4.  Antique cars no later than what year are allowed to enter the parade?

 1950



5.  What is a mummer?

A mummer is a costumed entertainer.


6.  How many chairs do Alsatia members set up for the parade?

2,234



7.  Are animals allowed in the parade?

No horses are allowed and other animals must be approved by parade officials.



8.  In 1917, the Alsatia Club started a bowling league.  How long did it exist?

It's still in existence and is the oldest bowling league in Washington County.



9.  Other than last year's parade, which was canceled because of snow, what were the other years when the parade was not held?

The Mummers Parade was not held from 1941 to 1945 during World War II.



10.  The Alsatia Club supports many activities. Besides the Mummers Parade, what is its longest supported activity?

The Hagerstown Junior Basketball League

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If you go ...       

WHAT: Alsatia Mummers Parade

WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m.

WHERE: North Potomac Street through South Potomac Street, Hagerstown

Seating is available, go to www.mdtheatre.org/community-events.php or call 301-739-2044.

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