‘Has Anyone Seen My Tutu?’
When the Hummers march, the satire flies. So skip the Mummers this year. When it comes to New Year’s fun, Philly has nothing on Middletown.
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“We didn’t need traffic control in the beginning,” Schreppler says. “Now we need a parade permit for police assistance, and that parade has grown to the point that I still recognize the regulars, but not all the newcomers that are adding to the ranks every year.”
General counsel for Artesian Water 364 days of the year, Schreppler may seem an unlikely choice as madcap grand marshal, but he conceived one of the earliest of the parade’s political parodies in the mid-1980s by donning a Ronald Reagan mask and spoofing the Iran-Contra affair.
“I think the theme of mocking politicians and celebrities in trouble grew from there,” he says.
Bob Wilson, a retired engineer, adopted the practice when he began parading in the mid-1980s.
“The first couple of years, I marched with friends to more traditional New Years’ themes of Father Time and Baby New Year,” Wilson says. “But my friends dropped out, so I became a sort of one-man band. The idea of focusing on a major embarrassment of the year just happened naturally, and I’ve been doing something along those lines every year since.”
The 2009 economic slide and attendant scandals provided a rich harvest of major embarrassments. So for the 2010 parade, Wilson chose Bernie Madoff as the icon of the meltdown. Wilson wore a sign that read, “Bernie Made-Off with My Money.”
The milling throng is as much a part of the Hummers ethos as the participants. (Remember: They know what “acerbic” means.) Townsend resident Gurnie Jopson has missed only two of the past 26 parades. “It’s a great way to start the New Year and bump into people you know but you don’t see that often,” Jopson says. “And you’re not going to get this kind of entertainment anywhere else for free.”
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