An unforgettably wild ritual, Philadelphia's annual Mummers Parade is family-friendly and fun for everyone.
(Photo courtesy Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts)
Get ready to don those dancing shoes, Philadelphia.
On New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014, the 114th Annual Mummers Parade returns to strut, twirl and step along Broad Street in a rowdy, one-of-a-kind annual Philadelphia tradition.
The only-in-Philly party brings more than 10,000 men and women, dressed in colorful and ornate costumes, into the streets to welcome the New Year with music, dancing and a carnival-like atmosphere.
The parade, which consists of 40 organized clubs split up into five divisions — Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands and Fancy Brigades — runs along Broad Street, starting in South Philly and ending at City Hall and JFK Boulevard. Check out the order of the march right here.
Each Mummers performance division has a separate theme. The Comics and Wench Brigades make fun of issues and public figureheads, the Fancies dress to impress in their dazzling outfits, the String Bands showcase their musical talent as they play reed and strings and the Fancy Brigades perform highly choreographed shows.
While the Mardi Gras-esque affair welcomes anyone who decides to stop by at the last minute, a little advance preparation guarantees a clear view. Better still, spending the night in the city ensures an early start to the day.
For the best views of each division’s final performance, the Grand Stand bleachers on JFK Boulevard between 15th and 16th streets offer more than 1,200 ticketed bleacher seats. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Independence Visitor Center or by calling 800-537-7676.
To see the decked out Fancy Brigades, a ticketed option is the best bet, too. Rather than a full strut up Broad Street, the Fancy Brigades stop at Washington Avenue then head to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for ticketed shows at noon and 5 p.m.
The New Year’s Convention Center show gets started at 11:30 a.m. with a meet-and-greet with the Fancy Brigades. Then, catch the Mummers matinee at noon or 5 p.m., with four-and-a-half-minute performances by each of the 10 competing Fancy Brigades. You’re in for a spectacular two-and-a-half-hour show, with lavish costumes, elaborate floats and props and Broadway-quality choreography.
Tickets are $23 to $28, and are also available at the Independence Visitor Center or by calling 800-537-7676.
Can’t wait until New Year’s Day to dance with the Mummers? MummersFest returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center this year from December 28 through December 31.
Try on real-life Mummers costumes, learn steps to the Mummers strut, make themed crafts, watch the designers put finishing touches on the floats and watch the Mummers practice their dances before the big reveal on New Year’s Day.
MummersFest runs from noon to 8 p.m. on December 28, noon to 7 p.m. on December 29, 4 to 9 p.m. on December 30 and noon to 6 p.m. on December 31. Tickets are $5, and free for children under 4
Get a sneak peek into all that is the Mummers with Visit Philly’s six-installment video series, Behind the Sequins: Showtime for the Philadelphia Mummers.
Happy New Year!
2014 Mummers Parade and MummersFest
When: Parade, January 1, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; MummersFest, December 28-31 with the Fancy Brigade Finale on January 1, noon and 5 p.m.
Where: Parade runs along Broad Street, beginning at Oregon Avenue and ending at City Hall; MummersFest is at the Convention Center
Cost: Free along main route; $20-25 for Fancy Brigade shows
More info: www.mummers.com