2019 Mummers Parade carries on Philadelphia New Year's Day tradition

Dan Wing
January 01, 2019 - 3:05 pm
The annual Mummers Parade is in full swing on a surprisingly warm but windy New Year's Day.

Dan Wing / KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The 119th annual Mummers Parade got going at 9 a.m. at Philadelphia City Hall on New Year's Day.

Preparations for the parade began almost immediately after last year's parade. Pat Bradley with the Fralinger String Band said it's a labor of love.

"It's what we work toward all year," he said. "We do parades, concerts, events all year long that builds up to this; raise well over $100,000 to put the show on the street today, and the competition really drives the whole thing for us."

PHOTOS: 2019 Mummers Day Parade

The Quaker City String Band came in second place last year. "Getting to that top slot won't be easy," Captain Jimmy Goode said Tuesday morning before the parade started.

"Just every year coming up with a new idea," he continued. "You see the end goal of the four-and-a-half-minute show, but that was an idea in a bunch of guys' heads. And bringing that to life with the costumes, the music and the show is a huge challenge every year."

Performing groups paused for spectators at 15th and Market streets, where the judges were stationed, and at the intersections of Broad Street and Sansom, Pine, and Carpenter streets. The parade curved around City Hall and moved southward on Broad Street, ending at Washington Avenue. 

Mummers brigades compete in five divisions: fancies, wenches, comics, string bands and fancy brigades. 

The Murray Comic Club is the largest in its division, with 2,000 mummers and 18 brigades. Dennis Peligrino, captain of the club, said they performed a salute to "Sesame Street" for its golden anniversary. 

"We're going to have a 50th birthday party for the 'Seasame Street' characters," he explained."I'm going to be the party host, basically."

Parade spectators who were on site saw more than those watching from home, he noted.

"Anything less than 25 people goes on to sidestand," Peligrino said. "So the club captain and all the brigades go on to television. Majority of the stuff that we put up, and all of the other clubs, you don't even see, it goes right to the sidestands."

For those following in-person, a map of the route goes into minute detail, courtesy of Mr. Mummer.

Over at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Mummers Fancy Brigade Finale shows ran at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

The last group is expected to reach the end of the route around 6 p.m.

The celebration continues later Tuesday as the parade participants and others head to "Two Street" in Pennsport near the club houses.

 

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KYW Newsradio's Dan Wing, Mike Dougherty and John McDevitt contributed to this report. Stay with KYW Newsradio for updates throughout parade day.