Parade History

Alsatians have always had the interest of their city at heart and during a meeting in the early fall of 1921, the subject of vandalism arose. Members voiced concern over the property damage and personal injuries city-wide as a result of the antics of mischievous pranksters on Halloween. As the discussion proceeded, Lynn Forthman suggested that a celebration activity on Halloween night might attract people and as a result may help to eliminate some of the vandalism. A decision was made that night to sponsor a mummer’s parade on Halloween; and, as father of the idea, Lynn Forthman was nominated first general chairman of the parade committee.

Although time was minimal for organizing the first parade, Lynn and his committee met all deadlines and the first annual Alsatia Mummer’s Parade was held on Halloween 1921. The parade met with such widespread public approval that with the exception of the years 1941 through 1945, it has been the largest single annual event in Hagerstown. Crowds in excess of seventy-thousand people come to Hagerstown to view and participate in this parade which is the largest parade of its kind in the East. Radio and television coverage have made this annual event an almost valuable advertisement for the City of Hagerstown. In addition, it has also achieved its original purpose of helping to reduce property damage… not only in the City of Hagerstown, but also in Washington County and neighboring jurisdictions.

In its early years the parade was financed entirely by the members of the club. As it grew and became more expensive to produce, the assistance of the City of Hagerstown, the Board of Washington County Commissioners, the Board of Education, the merchants, manufacturers, business and professional men of Washington County have helped make it possible to fulfill the slogan of “Bigger and Better Each Year “.