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CELEBRATING IN STYLE, OR IN SEQUINS AT LEAST

A year ago, I used to live at the intersection of 16th and Walnut Streets. For those not familiar with Philadelphia, that’s like the heart of the city. Rittenhouse Square is just two blocks away. The Apple Store is literally across the street. And, last New Years Day, I wandered outside my door to be greeted by dozens of people in costume. People with whistles shouting down the streets. People wandering the streets totally inebriated at noon. I have to be honest: I was completely confused as to what was going on. And then some kind person responded my look of confusion by explaining to me it was “The Mummers Parade.” Of course, it took me looking it up and reading about it before I realized that in Philadelphia it’s a big freaking deal. And, by that point it was too late to partake in the fun.

But this year I promised myself that no matter what I had going on on the first of January that I’d make it over there for at least a few minutes. And that I did. Actually, I made it over once to realize I forgot a memory card…. went back home to get it and then forgot my jacket. So, I ended up staying for about an hour which, considering it was 40 degrees and I was jacket-less with the winds blowing down Broad Street, is pretty impressive. And shows how amazing it must have been for me to have stayed. And my resolve at the end of it? Next year I’ll be even better prepared and stay the whole day. Seriously, it was amazing, and the best part? Totally free.

And, I just have to give mad props to the participants…. they apparently spend the entire year designing the costumes, themes, props, dances etc. and it totally shows. Some of these performances were really unreal. Unfortunately, since I was only there for an hour or so, I only caught a handful of the string bands [there are other types of performances as well], but they definitely didn’t disappoint. I’m just disappointed I only had one camera, one lens, and one hour. I could have had so much fun there all day. Here are a few of my favorites….

 

The giant crowd corralled at Spruce and Broad Streets. Normally, I’m not into giant throngs of drunk people. But this crowd was so different – everyone was having so much fun and really into it. Smiling, dancing, singing, cheering…. what’s not to love?

I’ve never seen the street so packed. Seriously…. I wish I had a wider lens for this!

So, the first string band was one that I missed. But, I managed to snag a couple shots as they walked by [shooting over someone else's head, mind you].

They were the Ferko String Band and their theme was titled “The Carnival Comes To Town.”
I’m bummed I missed the show because people on the street were whispering it was one of the best.

Next up was the Quaker City String Band with “A Toys Night Out.”
It definitely felt like Nutcracker + Old Nintendo + Toy Story to me, which I totally loved.

Oh and those teddy bears [below]? Totally playing the cellos. How? I have no idea.

Then, there was the Avalon String Band with “Avalon in Wonderland.”

I’m trying not to show too much bias here, but anything with an Alice in Wonderland theme tugs at my heartstrings. [Remember, book nerd over here.] The cheshire cats, the giant caterpillar, the rabbits with the giant pocketwatches, the cards. It was incredible. I almost wish I could have watched it a few times just to catch all the little details!

My favorite shot of the day [below].

Then there was the Greater Kensington String Band with “Haunted Harmonies.” It was super creepy, but their costumes were awesome.

Then, there was the Greater Overbrook String Band with “Fire Fightin’ Follies.” Apparently, several of them really are firefighters, which is pretty awesome.

Lastly, there was the Original Trilby String Band with “Hoodoo Voodoo….We Do.”
Sadly, I only snagged a couple of these before I ducked out, but thought their show was great too.

So, what about you? Did you do anything fun for New Years Day? Have you ever been to the Mummers Parade? I can’t be the only one now obsessed with this tradition…

Tina - I seriously can’t believe I’ve never been to the parade – I should go with ya next year!!January 1, 2012 – 6:24 PM

ETC - SO COOL! Fun shots!!January 1, 2012 – 6:35 PM

Michelle Williamson - Love, love, LOVE the March Hare shot (Avalon in Wonderland). And, of course, Greater Overbrook’s Firefightin’ Follies (for obvious reasons…) Great pics!!January 1, 2012 – 7:11 PM

Dee Nikolaidis - They are absolutely magnificent and different from any other parade. It is sooooo colorful and now I recognize some of the background… :-))). So glad you went and got such awesome pics. Truly a big part of Philly ! Happy New Years ! xoxoxoxoJanuary 2, 2012 – 7:39 AM

D. Wilson - So glad you saw “The Parade.” Grew up in Delaware Co. and always watched “The Parade” – usually on TV. Now live in western PA and they have no clue. Enjoyed your pictures. Thanks for posting.January 2, 2012 – 8:52 AM

Lynne Stackhouse - I grew up with the Mummer’s. I really miss it. I think it’s better than the Rose parade. Thanks for the awesome pics. I love them. Sure makes me homesick. I’m hoping they’ll show some of it during the hockey game today.January 2, 2012 – 1:22 PM

The Mummers Parade 2012, New Year’s Day Philadelphia, PA « The Mad Jewess With Breaking News By Donna Spellbound - [...] Click Here for Photos of the Mummers Parade 2012. [...]January 2, 2012 – 9:30 PM

Angelique Alleman - I was born and raised in philly, the mummers parade it is the best thing ever!If you have never made it out you have to go!I am so homesick now!January 4, 2012 – 9:49 AM

diane watkinns - We drive from Michigan every new years for the fireworks and
parade We have made it a tradition Your pictures were
really good – but you have to admit you have to be there
and hear all the music too to really get the feelJanuary 4, 2012 – 10:17 AM

Frank Carbone - All of the String Band performances are up on youtube so you can check out the bands that you may have missed or wanted to see again. The top 5 bands were 1. Woodland – Jungle, 2. Quaker City – Toys, 3. South Philly – Candyland, 4. Ferko – Carnival, 5. Fralinger – Scotland. Glad you enjoyed….January 5, 2012 – 2:52 PM

Gloria Blakely - Hi, I am producing a brief article about the upcoming 2013 Mummer signup deadline and the Show of Shows 2012. I will also include 2012 contest results. May I use one of your photos in the article.
Peace,
Gloria Blakely
215.546.3845
blake1002@verizon.net
http://www.examiner.com/charity-in-Philadelphia/gloria-blakelyJanuary 14, 2012 – 12:21 PM

amandabyoung - Hi Gloria,
Not sure if you still need it or not, but if so feel free to use whatever you’d like – just please do not crop out the copyright line and please include all credit to Swoon Over It Photography (including a link to my blog). Thanks so much!January 16, 2012 – 4:01 AM

Joan Copman - I used to spend New Years day in front of the TV watching the Mummers Parade. When I was younger I went downtown and watched it on Broad Street. Since I moved to Florida 24 years ago I can’t find it on any TV station. It’s unbelievable that such a fabulous event is not televised.January 23, 2012 – 11:37 PM

Terri Muthig - i grew up in miramar florida and my dad played with the miami mummers and the broward county mummers. oh the fun and memories you have and once you have been a band like this and have gone places with them, the mummers strutt never leaves. even though my dad is in “mummers heaven” the tribute here continues on. may ones love of the mummers linger on foreverJanuary 30, 2012 – 11:05 PM

Jaclyn Phillips - This year I was remembering Mummer’s Day Parades, and I wasn’t sure if they still happened. But I am certainly glad to hear that they still go on!!February 8, 2012 – 8:43 PM

Midge Amesbury Vezina - Teri your photos are wonderful and I used to watch your dad play and enjoyed it so much. I can’t believe how great you’ve gotten.September 15, 2012 – 6:31 PM

Barton - Now live in Virginia, heart of the old south. Try to explain the parade to a southern. It ain’t happening. Where can I get a schedule of the parade and do the bands still perform in front of City Hall?November 10, 2012 – 3:58 AM

leslie rees - I live in orange county,ca & discovered the mummers parade on the travel channel many years ago-It became the reason I looked forward to every new year!!!Then one year it wasnt on,I called & wrote them,but got no reason or answer as to why they werent showing it. Then WGN started showing at least a couple of hours of the parade until a few years ago-WHATS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE??? Most people out here have no idea what they`re missing cause they`ve never had the chance to experience it!!!It makes me SO unhappy every new years day now, because I KNOW WHAT IM MISSING!!!! We have to fix this problem, SOMEONE HELP,PLEASE!!!December 30, 2012 – 3:21 PM

STARR UNGER - YASOU, (HELLO)

I THINK QUAKER CITY WAS THE BEST STRING BAND EVER THS YEAR BECAUSE THEY STUCK TO NATVE AMERICAN TRADITION WITH NOT ONLY TRADIITIONL REGELIA (COUSTUMES) BUT THE MUSIC WAS EXCELLENT TOO. THEY DID THE RING DANCE AND I CRIED WHEN I SAW THE SCARED WHITE BUFFALO…..I AM PART SOUIX LAKOTA…. MY GRANDFATHER TOUGHT ME THE WAYS OF OUR PEOPLE.

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE EFFERT YOU PUT IN TO IT. YOU KNOW A LONG
TIME AAO, YEARS….MUMMERY WAS AN INDIAN TRADIION….DRSSING UP, DANCING ENJOYING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS.

WADEN (BLESSINGS)
STARR UNGERJanuary 1, 2013 – 6:59 PM

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