New Year's Day tradition rolls on in Middletown.
The Hummers Parade, full of political and celebrity satire and a tradition in Middletown since 1971, will start at (roughly) 1 p.m. downtown Middletown on New Year’s Day.
A spoof of the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, the Hummers Parade has no registration, membership, or rules. It’s for anybody who wants to be in the parade and have their own style.
Jack Schreppler, the parade’s grand marshal, said the best place to see the parade is at Sully’s Irish Pub at the Witherspoon at North Broad and West Main streets. The pub is where the grand marshal, dressed in a top hat and coat tails, has his headquarters.
But the pub is only for the people are 21 years old or older. Otherwise, the best place is Cochran Square.
Usually, people in the parade make fun of public figures and celebrities. For example, Schreppler said he wouldn’t be surprised if someone portrays Garrison Keillor as “Garrison Feel Her.”
The parade begins at the intersection of South Cass and West Cochran streets, with the lineup starting at about noon. The parade proceeds south on Cass Street to Park Place where the nursing home is.
“We always greet the residents who come out and meet us,” Schreppler said.
At that point, the parade goes east to South Broad Street where Middletown police have traffic control. Parade participants then march north on Broad Street to Cochran Square, and go west on Main Street past Sully’s, which opens at 9 a.m. that morning.
Then the parade continues west on Main, turns south onto Scott Street, past Volunteer Hose Company and back to where the parade started.
Schreppler said he doesn’t know how many people will be in the parade this year since there’s no registration. Last year’s parade wasn’t big, but it wasn’t the smallest Hummers Parade either, he said.
“I think we had a 100 people in the parade [last year],” he said.
It’s up to the parade participants to decide on what to wear or design their float if they are in the parade.
“Traditionally, people don’t work on their floats until after midnight. We don’t enforce that. Some of us go to bed early,” Schreppler said.
The parade started in 1971 when a group of Middletown residents went to cheer up a friend who was ill on New Year’s Day, with a funny parade at his house. The tradition continued year after year, growing into an iconic Middletown event drawing spectators from throughout the state and region.