The leaves are starting to fall, the air has a chilly crisp to it, there may even be some frost on those fall pumpkins, warm cider is bubbling, ghouls and goblins are ever-present and it is October, so it must be time for the annual South Williamsport Mummers’ Parade, which will step off for the 72nd time this Saturday, October 21.
This year’s event will have many of the old favorites as well as several exciting new entrants.
The parade will feature the Woodlands String Band from Philadelphia as well as the Nittany Highland Pipe Band from the State College area. Both groups promise to bring an exciting new sound to the time- honored parade route.
Step off for the parade is at 2 p.m. The parade starts at Central Avenue and Howard Street, goes west on Central and proceeds down Clark to Southern Avenue and goes east on Southern and ends at Main Street.
The judges’ stand is located across from the CVS plaza where bleachers will be available for spectators. Officially, the parade disbands at Howard St. so there are many optimal viewing spots along the parade route in which to enjoy the afternoon.
According to Dori Rankinen, one of the parade organizers, the South Williamsport Mummers’ Parade has always been a family event for the surrounding communities. There is nothing more exciting than to hear neighbors planning cookouts and gatherings for friends and family along the parade route. Music from the local high school bands and cheers from the various cheerleader squads mingle with the occasional fire truck siren as the afternoon progresses. Many new businesses in the area are joining in this year with floats and of course candy for the area children to enjoy!
“Very few know the effort and orchestration that happens behind the scenes to pull off a parade event smoothly,” Rankinen told Webb Weekly. “It may come as a surprise to know that the parade is a self- funding event. We receive a thoughtful donation from the SW Borough Council each year, however, the expense of the parade can range between $3,000 to $5,000. There are insurances that must be purchased, each high school band receives $500 to help cover travel expenses, and we definitely want to make sure that there are port-a-potties available.”
The parade committee would like to recognize several corporate sponsors that have made the 2017 event something to look forward to because of the spectacular entertainment. Corporate sponsorship for the parade this year was provided by Southside DQ, Party City and Hilsher Graphics. These businesses generously donated the monies needed to hire the string band from Philadelphia. The Mummers’ Committee donated the funds for scheduling the bagpipes, and the Mummer’s committee would like to offer a huge shout out to the Duboistown Turkey Hill customers. Donation canisters have been placed in various local establishments to help fund the parade. Over the last four months, the customers at Turkey Hill in DuBoistown have donated over $180 to help make this parade happen. It’s that kind of community spirit that will keep the parade moving forward into the memories of future generations.
The Mummers’ Parade has been a mainstay of our area for decades. Each year so many people put in great effort to make the parade memorable. This year is sure to be no different. So please, get out and line the streets in South Williamsport and enjoy a South Williamsport area staple. The bands, cheerleaders, dancers and all who are participating appreciate all who come out to admire their hard work.
Also, if you see donation canister, please support the parade if you can. We at Webb Weekly can’t wait to help the South Williamsport Mummers’ Parade celebrate their 100th anniversary, but they need the continuing support of the community to make that happen.