Since 1950 there has been a Halloween parade in Cumberland. The tradition will continue this evening when the 63rd annual parade is held by the South Cumberland Business and Civic Association.
The parade will move at 7 p.m. west on East First Street to Virginia Avenue, then continue on the avenue south to West Industrial Boulevard before disbanding in the area between Kirk Auto Sales and East Third Street.
Jim Ortiz, who served as president of the South Cumberland Business and Civic Association for the past 18 years, will be the parade marshal. During his term in office, Ortiz promoted many improvements and activities, including obtaining funds for new lamp posts and Christmas lights on Virginia Avenue. Membership was increased and the pavilion and grounds at Smith Park, where the judging of the Halloween mummers is held prior to the start of the parade, were refurbished.
This year’s parade is 10 divisions and will also feature judging of costumed mummers at 5:30 p.m. at Smith Park, located between Race and Seymour streets. The parade reviewing stand will be located at the HRDC building on Virginia Avenue.
While there are other parades held in the area from time to time — the most notable recent one being the huge bicentennial parade held by the city of Frostburg in September — none has had the longevity and endurance of the South End Halloween parade. Hats off to Marsha Thomas, parade chairwoman, and her many volunteers and members of the South Cumberland Business and Civic Association who work so hard to keep the parade so popular.