Mummers won’t strut through South Side this year
The 75th annual South Williamsport Mummers Parade that had been set for October has been canceled, with organizers citing regulatory obstacles in obtaining a permit from the state Department of Transportation.
“I’m very frustrated,” Dori Rankinen, who has been involved with organizing the parade for seven years, said Wednesday.
“This is the 75th anniversary,” South Williamsport Borough Manager Steve Cappelli said. “That’s only going to happen once.”
Rankinen said the decision to cancel stemmed from conversation with borough officials and mandates and initiatives of Gov. Tom Wolf to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
“I am not discounting that there is a virus,” Rankinen said, adding that she and the other organizers had frequent conversations with health care professionals and the Lycoming County coroner about how to minimize risk. “We weren’t just willy-nilly going ahead with this plan … We had made plans to do social-distancing.”
Cappelli noted the role played by Wolf’s executive orders, limiting the number of people gathering, and the challenge of securing a permit from the state Department of Transportation to close a portion of Route 654 for the parade.
“The organizers made the only decision they could,” Cappelli said. “We’re in uncharted waters.”
“Unfortunately, Gov. Wolf and his task force, in cooperation with PennDOT, have created an environment of hysteria and COVID-19 regulatory hoops to jump through that make it impossible to enjoy our historic community event,” the organizers said in a post on Facebook Tuesday night.
Rankinen said she did not intend for it be politicized and noted that if a Republican governor had pursued the same strategy of COVID-19 mandates and limitations, she would offer the same criticisms.
“I think the restrictions are too stringent,” Rankinen said.
Cappelli expressed optimism that the parade will return in 2021.
“I would certainly expect” there to be a 2021 parade, he said. “It’s a wonderful tradition.”