Thousands of performers covered well-known paths to delight onlookers at the New Year's Day tradition.
Though sunlight decided to take off Tuesday, lovers of leisure still found plenty of revelry to brighten their New Year’s Day festivities.
Thanks to vivid and well-received performances from thousands of costumed helpers spread out over five disciplines, attendees of the 113th annual Mummers Parade warmly welcomed 2013, crowding South Broad Street, John F. Kennedy Boulevard and the Pennsylvania Convention Center to witness the pomp and pageantry that unite generations and dole out camaraderie.
“We’ve come for maybe the last 10 years,” Shel Cain said of himself and wife Peggy at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, where the Comic Division launched the celebration. “The atmosphere always makes for a great way to spend the holiday.”
In extending their relationship with the parade, which originated in 1901, the residents of Seventh Street and Washington Avenue also introduced their granddaughter Marielle to the event. The 20-month-old became a frequent recipient of affection, as garbed entertainers adorned her with necklaces and offered her waves.
“Today’s word is ‘costume,’” Cain said of aiding the toddler’s ability to distinguish between reality and imagination.
The Bella Vista dweller and the other excited onlookers also observed the outfits and routines of the Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades, with Oregon, Passyunk and Washington avenues and Ritner and Dickinson streets serving as starting points and performance areas.
“I love the string bands the most,” he said of the 17 entrants. “They’re so outstanding, as is everyone else, that I don’t know how people ever judge them. I know I couldn’t.”
Hawthorne’s Conchita Carvalho has come to adore every aspect of the annual occasion. A native of Brazil, she attended her first parade as a visitor in 2009 and made Tuesday’s affair her initial one as a South Philadelphian.
“I went to the Mummers Mass to pray for a great day, and we got one,” the resident of the 1200 block of Christian Street said of the New Year’s Eve gathering at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 2319 S. Third St. “I can’t wait to find out who the winners will be so we can give them even more cheers on Two Street.”
The aforementioned spot refers to a multi-block party where participants and spectators bond and anticipate both a prosperous year and many fruitful future forays up Broad Street. Before the post-parade tradition prolonged the joy deep into the night, the gregarious acts wowed their supporters with a slew of themes, many touching on homages to the past and a few tackling contemporary issues, such as the sluggish American economy and the often feared Mayan prophecy on the future of the world.
“It’s been quite a varied year and certainly one I look forward to recounting long after the final prize is given and the last pieces of confetti and silly string are picked up,” Mitchell Gordon, of the 600 block of McKean Street, said. “I don’t know anybody who likes starting a new year with a sad day or in a foul mood. The Mummers, for so many people and even more potential folks, are a great remedy for all our cares. Let’s hope happy days are here again.”
Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 124. Comment at southphillyreview.com/news/features.
Photo by Michael A. Apice
Photo Provided by Michael A. Apice
It’s rare to be so riled up about the Mummers in the summer August heat. It’s no secret that the Mummers themselves start planning their next parade routine on Jan. 2, but with a proposed route change that will move the parade north and shorten it, South Philly is abuzz with talk of tradition and changing demographics.
Over 113 editions, the Mummers Parade has helped performers and onlookers to part with the old and anticipate the new, and for its concentration on fun and fellowship, readers have dubbed it their top South Philadelphia tradition.
Besides hours of spirited New Year's Day fun, a Philadelphia tradition once again created plenty of heated competition.
Peace pushers and community builders
Washington Avenue needs your help
Summer in South Philly
Washington Avenue’s growing pains
20 Rising Stars for 2015