A Halloween time tradition continues this Saturday, October 18 when the 69th South Williamsport Mummer’s Parade steps off at 2 p.m. and proceeds through the streets of South Williamsport.
This event is an anticipated part of the area’s October cultural landscape and this year is no exception.
“Boomer,” the Williamsport Crosscutters’ mascot will be the parade’s Grand Marshal and we will be tooling around the parade route on his signature ATV, bringing fun and excitement to young and old alike.
One of the parade’s highlights will be the participation of the Aqua String Band from the Philadelphia area. The Aqua String Band has proven to be a popular part of the annual Grand Slam Parade during the past several years and they will no doubt prove just as popular with the South Williamsport parade. The band will provide a true Mummer’s type presentation and spirit in their colorful costumes which make it seem more like the Mummer’s parades held in Philadelphia.
Other musical units joining the Aqua String Band include several local high school bands, the South Williamsport, Montgomery, Muncy and Williamson High School bands. These bands will be among the 70 to 80 units participating in the 10-division parade.
“We would probably have several more high school bands in the parade but there is a high school band competition at Loyalsock High School that day and several bands indicated that they chose not to do two events in the same day,” Lance Ohnmeiss, parade chairman told “Webb Weekly.” “One musical group that we have will be riding on a trailer and performing is the ‘Mantells,’ a noted local rock group from the 60s that got back together in recent years.”
He said it has become increasingly difficult to book musical groups for the parade because many of them request a fee to participate.
“The money we use to pay these musical groups comes from the sponsors that we are able to recruit,” Ohnmeiss said. “We have been lucky that the number of sponsorships we have gotten seems to be fairly stable but we can always use more. The Borough of South Williamsport has been very generous and helpful the parade and that has also been a great thing for us.”
The parade committee consisting of between 20 and 30 individuals will actively fund raise during this year’s parade.
“Our parade committee is selling colorful t-shirts and sweat shirts this year to try and raise funds to keep the parade going and awareness in our community about the parade,” Ohnmeiss said. “In addition, they will have a food stand to the east of Stroble's Garage at the corners of Sidney St. and Southern Avenue, selling hotdogs, hot sausage sandwiches, chili, chips, and coffee, hot chocolate, soda, and water.
Next year, according to Ohnmeiss, is the parade’s 70th anniversary and the parade committee is seeking historic photographs that people may have from throughout those 70 years.
“Our committee is excited to be doing another year of parade organizing and look forward to seeing the crowds in South Side for our hometown celebration,” Ohnmeiss said. “We are also looking for help from the community. As always, if people want to come out and volunteer we will definitely welcome them with open arms. We meet at the DuBoistown Volunteer Fire Company Social Hall every Second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. except in December.”
The parade begins on W. Central Avenue, travels west to Clark Street., goes north to West. Southern Avenue and ends at George Street.