SHAMOKIN - Three Philadelphia Mummers String Bands have committed to perform in Shamokin's 150th Anniversary Grand Parade July 5 organized by the 5th Ward Parade Committee, according to a press release.

Arrangements are being finalized with the Avalon String Band, the Uptown String Band and the Polish American String Band, according to committee member Bill Dudeck.

Mayor William D. Milbrand, owner of Catawese Coach Lines busing company, arranged to transport the bands on behalf of the parade committee, lowering the fees owed for the bands' appearance.

"The budget will now allow for three music groups of this caliber," Dudeck said in the press release. "They will certainly be the highlight of the parade marching in costumes that cost more than $100,000 per band."

All three bands perform annually at the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on New Years Day.

About the bands

The Avalon String Band dates back to 1938 and got its current name in 1944 from a popular cigarette brand. The band has performed at Mardi Gras, the Presidential Inauguration Parade in 1993 and in Ireland and Italy, according to www.avalongstringband.com.

Members are between 12 and 60 years of age and play saxophones, banjos, accordions and percussion. Stylistically, the band performs sing-along music and minstrel standards as well as popular music from the early to mid-1900's, swing and big band.

The Uptown String Band also got its start in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade in 1938, taking top honors in 1957, 1976 and 1977. Their rendition of "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" sold more than 1 million copies, according to www.uptownstringband.com.

They were based in Northwest Philadelphia until 1990 when it moved into Bucks County and merged the following year with the Harrowgate String Band.

The Uptown String Band's theme this year is "The Pillage People."

The Polish American String band, founded in 1933 by Joseph Jankowski, is highly decorated for its performances in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade and has won first prize 11 times and runner-up 14 times.

According to www.polishamericanstringband.com, the band introduced synchronized drill, dancing and scenery to the parade over the decades. They twice performed for Pope John Paul II including in Vatican City and were the first Mummer's string band to play at the Philadelphia Academy of Music in 1976.

More information about all three bands along with video of performances can be found on their respective websites or at YouTube.

Camaro tickets for sale

The parade is being financed through the raffle of a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro convertible purchased from B&L Chevrolet. Approximately 7,000 chances are being sold at $10 each. The winner will be drawn on the morning of the parade and will be the official parade marshal leading the 2 p.m. parade in their new car.

Several locations are selling tickets and the Camaro can be viewed in the B&L dealership showroom. For tickets, call Marian Edmondson at 570-648-5813 or Vanessa Dudeck at 570-863-8410.

Committee members unanimously agreed to dedicate the parade to all living and deceased veterans and active duty personnel of the greater Shamokin area. Tributes are still on sale for the parade's souvenir program for $7. Call Edmondson for more information.

The committee invites the public to its next meeting at 3 p.m. Sunday at the G Lounge on South Vine Street. All members are encouraged to attend. Volunteers are sought for a raffle ticket selling campaign on April 4. Anyone interested in assisting with the parade in any capacity or are considering participating in the parade are invited to attend.