Events, Southside Stories

Mummer’s Parade Older Than Once Believed

Organizers of the annual South Williamsport Mummer’s Parade are reviewing a program acquired at a flea market in the Reading area that shows that were was at least one other South Williamsport Mummer’s Parade before 1945.

“Ed Fry, who is a former South Side resident and who puts several antique fire trucks in our parade was in Reading recently and he found a parade program from the 1928 South Williamsport Mummer’s Parade,” Sharon Shutt, parade coordinator for this year’s parade, said. “We had no idea that there were other parades before 1945. We are very thrilled to have Ed give us this old and very historic program.”

One of the things that excites Shutt so much about acquiring the old parade program is the fact that it provides an interesting “snapshot” of South Williamsport. The program lists the names of all the borough officials, information about the fire companies, the schools and the names of all the teachers at the schools and ads from many long departed South Williamsport businesses as well as a few that are still around.

“One of the things that is especially interesting to us is the similarity between the way they conducted their parade and the way we do ours,” Shutt said. “We both give out cash prizes, although I suspect we give out a greater amount. School groups were and are an important part of both displays, as well as churches and in both cases the community is very much involved in putting on of the parade. And we both had all of the municipal officials leading things off in the first division and the divisions seemed to be organized in the same manner.”

That 1928 parade took place on Friday, October 26, 1928. That year the parade gave out a $15 prize for best decorated home, $10 for next best decorated, $5 for best service organization, $5 for best decorated Mummer and $5 for best decorated car.

The program shows that C.W. Noll was burgess or mayor of the borough and it also listed all of the borough council members.

Some of the ads featured in the program included some departed businesses such as, Jude M. Lomison, General Contractor, 423 Howard St., H.J. Kast Ice Cream Company, opposite the Mountain Avenue School, Williamsport Milk Products, Makers of Hurr’s Ice Cream, and Elmer Klose Filling Station, 1552 Junction Street.

Shutt said she is not sure what will ultimately be done with the historic parade program but said it will be given a safe home and will be preserved for future historic interest and examination, perhaps in the safe keeping of the borough itself.

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