Can you imagine the sight of 200 men dressed “in best bedclothes” marching down Hamilton Street in Allentown? In the 1940s and ’50s, the Freshman Pajama Parade was an annual tradition at Muhlenberg and the kickoff to Homecoming weekend.
Students, alumni and Allentown residents would gather the evening before the big football game to watch the parade, which started on campus and marched down Chew Street to 17th Street, south to Hamilton Street and continued to Center Square, culminating in a pep-rally.
The tradition was even described as a required activity in the M Book – Muhlenberg’s student rule book of that time – under “Freshman Regulations:”
“The Pajama Parade on the night before the Homecoming game and the Shoe Rush at the half will be held as usual.” *
After inclement weather and pressure from the Allentown police (citing traffic congestion and rowdy behavior) caused the parade to be cancelled for a few years in a row in the mid-1950s, the tradition started fading away, soon to be replaced by different student interests and pursuits.
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* From the 1947-48 M Book.