I know few people who watch it, and those that do have it on in the background on new years day and are not actively watching. Its not enough that you dont understand or enjoy something thats been part of the city for over years, most of these assholes dont want anyone else to enjoy it either because they dont get it. I think they need more exposure. I dont know what you expect from a parade, ever see the Parade of Roses? Countdown 12 days till our 11th annual Mummers Against Cancer Event. All links to archival images must either link to the original source or include a link to the source in the comments.
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It was pissed off cops that hate working events like that coupled with groups of black kids that showed up andfelt it would be fun to randomly sneak drunken white kids. Those two combined right at 5th St. And all hell broke lose. Those events arent adults only drink fests.
Not everybody wants to go to local market fairs checking out crafts with their kids and enjoying a glass of wine. Many people want parties. Lots of booze, loud music, debauchery, women flashing their tits, random hookups, etc.
But they would need a city government willing to work with local businesses where they can place things like this away from residential neighborhoods, have police there strictly for help and protection, and not to arrest drunks in public, and to make sure no minors can get anywhre near the event.
Ive seen it done in other cities and its an absolute blast. Its a shame that Philly can never seem to do it the right way. The problem with Mardi Gras was violence, not alcohol. Police cars and police officers were being assaulted. The problem was overzealous police caused by alcohol. Kids just didnt come up and start attacking cop cars. The cops didnt want anyone drinking on the street, even though people were told ahead of time they could as long as they stayed on South St.
And used a plastic cup. We had just bought them. That kind of attitude matched with drunks and some groups of black kids randomly sneaking people fueled that fucking riot. But of course the first thing they did was blame public drunkeness and do what they could to kill the event.
Starting a drinking event is easy but the city knows that they will always end up footing the clean up bill and taking flack if things go sideways. Can't blame them for being apprehensive. The same people that would participate are the same that act like drunken fools in old city each weekend.
Pissing and throwing up all over private property doesn't make any friends. Then put up lots of port o pots. The reason people piss on the atreet is theres nowhere else to go. So its either piss there pants or piss in a corner. Lining up port o pttys would fix this issue, kind of like they did at Eagles tailgates. I've been a mummer for 22 years. It's not that blacks are accepted as members but, more so lack of attempts to become a member.
And do you honestly see a change in racism on NY? Granted there's a lot of racism in this city from all races, as with any big city, I just really don't see a significant difference in racism on NY.
I don't doubt any of that - I'm sure most of the clubs would welcome just about anybody who got the bug. But even so, those are the exceptions, not the rule. The Mummers have never been a tradition that drew participants from the whole city - - it's a genuine folk tradition from a particular slice of the demographic.
That doesn't make it "racist" by definition - any more than any other folk tradition is racist. But it does limit its appeal as far as the rest of the city is concerned. I whole heartily agree that the clubs don't try to invoke outsider participation nor do they invoke "insider" participation for that matter either. Its up to us to pay the dues and for the suit. It all relies on love of the tradition.
I've happily witnessed several of my transplant friends joining Mummer crews and enjoying themselves on New Years. It's great to see the tradition continue and take on a new life. Thats just not true though. Anybody can be in the Mummers parade.
Now in order to be in the fancies and string bands you have to have some kind of dancing and music playing talent, and be able to show up for practice pretty much all year long.
But if someone wants to be in the parade, they can be in the comics just by contacting a club and paying the fee. All you have to do is show up for your measurements when you drop off your check, and show up New Years morning.
The reason the parade is dying is because they let the Fancies take their act to the convention center instead of keeping them on Broad St.
But lets be real, I was drinking my face off the night before. So I wasnt going to get to see the comics. I would wake up around noon, grab a bite to eat, and head to Broad St. I would then have a good hours outside I could watch the parade. We would drink, catch up with old friends, hook up with girls, it was an awesome day. Then the Fancies went to the CC.
After that by the time people that enjoyed the parade like I did they would have about 2 hours to see it before it was done marching through South Philly. So I stopped going. It wasnt worth the hassle for 2 lousy hours. Then the String Bands complain because there arent as many people out and now they want to go to the CC.
If they just kept the parade the way it was the last years basically meaning everyone marches, down Broad St. You're confusing opportunity to access the parade with a desire to and encouragement to join the parade. Just because it's available does not mean everyone wants to participate; just because everyone wants to participate does not mean they would feel wholly welcome or culturally moved by the Mummers same ole act.
Well the Mummers shouldnt have to change their act in order for more people to want to join. Its not just a New Years Day parade. If people dont want to join it they dont have to. But you cant cry and act like you arent welcome because youre black or female or gay or not from Philly. Everyone is welcome to join.
I know people that still march. Contact a comics club during the summer and say you want to join. Theyll tell you the price and set up a day to measure you for your costume. Oh and youll have to bring an old pair of sneakers for them to paint. Then theyll give you an address and time to meet up on New Years morning. If racism and xenophobia never existed in these south philly neighborhoods that point of view might be more believable. If the Mummers were a more diverse group then maybe it would be more believable.
As it stands, there is a lack of evidence to support the argument that they are inclusive groups. They dont reach out to anyone. People reach out to them. Thats how its always been. You know why there are so many Irish 2nd Streeters in the Mummers? Because those fucking guys are out their doing drills every Sunday morning starting in March. They constantly sell tickets for beef and beers, chinese auctions, football pools and other hustles in order to make money for their clubs.
And they do it together with their friends and their families. Mostly with people they dont really know. Think theres a lot of people dying to take them up on offers like that?
Thats for the fancies. For the String Bands they also have to know how to play an instrument. For the comics they just have to buy their uniform and give their measurements. They are an inclusive group, but its volunteer only. They arent going to beg anyone to join and they sure as fuck arent going to let outsiders join for less money or less dedication than former members have to pay. It's also always been racist and exclusionary, that's part of the problem.
They need to change or they will become irrelevant. You just want to keep believing your bullshit stereotypes. The parade isnt exclusionary, or racist. But if you want to join you need to A. Go to a club and fucking ask. Be willing to pay the dues and put in the time it requires.
But instead you keep trying to bring up these bullshit reasons why its something its not. How many people have you known that tried to join the parade and were refused?
Cultures that don't die. God forbid I'd like to keep more of my money as a Middle Class wage earner. Instead of it going to pay for good for nothings that never take advantage of charity.
Don't even get me started on schooling. I've held off on children because I make too much to get financial aid to a good private school, but not enough to afford it outright. What is my other option? Send my kids to that hellhole, to the PSD? Their only saving grace will be that they are Half-Japanese, so they can work that minority angle to get into Masterman.
I can only speak as an insider when it comes to the mummers. My family has been in the parade in many capacities for generations. I have close family members in the Mummers HOF. The parade is dying, but I have yet to see this reason mentioned.
I think it is dying because the city is tired of supporting it. This tradition sucks money from the city to pay for the added police presence, and the cleanup efforts after the partying is all done. More than a decade ago the city paid winners in their respective divisions. Now there is nothing. The city is letting this tradition die because it is unsustainable as it is. The TV contract isn't going to be enough to justify the high cost. I'm not judging the city's perspective, I'm just providing mine.
They're still a force, but not what they were in the Mummers' heyday, when that class had much more control of Philly politics.
You are absolutely correct. The City does little to support the parade, particularly now that there's no prize money. Ideally now that the route is shortened, the City will save tons on police-related costs. I think thats a very valid point. And I think its a selfish stance from the city.
Like everything else they completely mismanage every fucking dollar that goes into the city. I really wish there would be an in depth investigation into just how corrupt the city is because Im betting its fucking one of the worst in the country. Funny how the city was able to have the parade and give out prize money and all that shit with no problems for years, and now suddenly they cant afford it.
I don't know if the parade is dying but maybe just the string bands. Is the convention center stuff still drawing crowds? Maybe it's not the parade but the popularity of playing polka instruments. How about you stop doing that.
You know things are getting bad, but wanted to up the ante every year? I think it's time for them to go back to basics. Arrange your own music, make your own or simplify costumes and props, etc. That would be so awesome. Also kick them the fuck out of the convention center. If you wanna be part of the parade you should march up Broad St.
This isnt a fucking Bring It On movie. Exactly, time to get back to the DIY roots of the thing. Especially now that there is no prize money. We don't do This Parade for ourselves. We do it for the awesome crowd that comes out to see us. Personally, if I never see a grown man wearing a sequin diaper dancing down Broad street again, it would be too soon. I don't need to wear a dress and be called "fancy" to have fun and drink.
It's a crazy and weird tradition. Makes no sense to me. So it would be like every other day in philly then? The mummers embody the spirit of the holiday. If we loose the mummers, dumb shit like the color-run, the tweed ride and role playing cons will be all that's left for people to get funky with. The persons point is that many of us don't need that excuse to have a good time anymore.
The 60's were a long time ago and if we want to get "funky" now, we just go ahead and do it whenever. All that shit is corny. It's just a bunch of people who don't feel comfortable acting a fool unless there's a huge group of people doing it. The Mummers aren't superior to anyone. It doesn't matter if you're walking down the street dress like a party favor or eating in the street dressed all in white. It's just an excuse that many of us don't need anymore. If we don't need the mummers to help us cut loose then how come the other days in Philadelphia don't feel like New Year's Day?
I think most people do need the cover of others to get funky. Imagine being the only one dancing in a room full of people. Alcohol alone can't bury those self-conscious feelings. The problem is that your self conscious, not that the Mummers are going out of style.
Take up EDM if you need that kind of validation. I get the impression you don't like dancing or the people that do. And line dancing doesn't count. I'm enjoying the conversation so I'll go on. You know what New Year's Day would be like in philly without the mummers? They would have those "block parties" like they have on south street, west of broad in the summer.
The kind where you have nothing to do but wait in one of the 3-stage beer lines: Cultural traditions are only such because people care to continue them. If people cease to care, it ceases to be a tradition. Not enough to keep the tradition healthy, it seems, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. I dont like it so they should end it mentality. You would think a culture that loves to sport neckbeards and fedoras while drinking Chimay out of a goblet would appreciate the spectacle of the Mummers a little more.
It's not surprising that as the city changes with people coming in from other areas that stuff like this will fade away. On one hand it sucks that a piece of Philadelphia history is fading out.
On the other hand if it really was a time honored tradition people would give more of a shit. Stating that the Mummers have become less popular based on the tastes of new Philly residents is like saying Philly will stop serving cheesesteaks because the transplants prefer healthier food.
Maybe the number of parade participants has decreased over time, but, as an event, it's still wildly popular here in the city. The parade needs a format update to get with the times - but people still very much give a shit about the Mummers. Everyone loves cheesesteaks vegetarians and vegans notwithstanding.
Most people, especially newer city residents, couldn't give two shits about the Mummers, nor even know what it is. Living in the path of the Mummers for almost 20 years, there's barely a crowd.
In the 90s, you would be shoulder to shoulder with people from Snyder Ave to Chestnut St. Now, the only crowd is the Staging Area and City Hall, and most of those people are families who drove in and don't live in the area or are tourists fighting their hangovers.
But when the new generations aren't filling the ranks the way they used to and as neighborhoods shift away from the demographics which supported the Mummers, it's going to be harder and harder to keep the tradition going. That's just too much of a stretch. You don't have to live in South Philly to be in the Mummers. Update the Mummers format by making it more attractive for young people, and they're more likely to get involved.
That's exactly the point though. Philadelphia as a whole is getting younger and moving away from the working class which supported the Mummers. Your suggestion of updating the format kinda defeats the purpose as that would also get rid of what the Mummers are all about.
I'm not arguing that Philly isnt getting younger - hence the Mummers need to update their approach. However, to imply that transplants from other cities have taken such a large hold over the city that they are killing city-wide support of the Mummers as compared to just an overall generational shift away from old school entertainment, which is my point is a pretty big jump IMO.
I didn't say it was transplants, I said the demographics are shifting. Transplants are part of that, but it also has to do with the fact that a lot of working class neighborhoods where Mummers groups thrive are becoming newer young families that don't necessarily have the neighborhood ties that make groups like this work.
Shhhh youre gonna kill this fucking fantasy they have that to be in the Mummers parade you have to show your family has been white for the last 8 generations and you have to know the secret handshake. People just dont want to acceopt the fact that anybody can march in the comics for an entry fee and some costume measurements. You also have to want to participate, which is the actual problem. The fact that it's been a tradition in some families definitely helps it keep going, but that isn't enough to sustain it.
But thats not the Mummers fault. Young people have a lot of better things to do then march 3 miles in freezing temperatures while trying to dance. I know this is important to some people, but I could not care less.
Good luck to all the people who do care, though. The people that grew up with it do. The ones that it was never part of their life dont because its all about them. People are slefish by nature. Its not enough that you dont understand or enjoy something thats been part of the city for over years, most of these assholes dont want anyone else to enjoy it either because they dont get it. Here's what you don't get: No one is out there actively out there discouraging anyone from enjoying the Mummers.
Except the Mummers, that is. Want a sure way to fail? Ignore the declining numbers and failing clubs. Blame the audience for "not getting it. Never take a moment to consider whether the there's any validity to the criticism of the event over the last three decades. It's not that we don't want anyone to enjoy it, it's that you don't care whether we do.
The event is what it is. If you dont enjkoy it, thats cool, dont go. But they shouldnt have to change it so youll enjoy it ignoring the people that have supported it for decades in the process.
I dont get that. And Ive seen so many things from the NHL to businesses with that ridiculous line of thinking. You dont need to grow. Just be happy with what you have. Instead they change with the hope of attracting new people, then not only does that not work but you alienate the fans you already had because you just assumed theyd stick with you no matter what. Its not supposed to come to you. The biggest problem with the parade is they let the fancies stop marching and take their act to the convention center.
Stop that shit and make the entire parade go down Broad St. Well, you may not need to grow, but you might want to stop the accelerating rate of attrition that plagues the parade. If the parade dies off with "the people that have supported it for decades," which is the way it's heading, who cares? The Catto band participated in the Mummers Parade for 65 years.
For many years, it was the only black group in the parade. Until it closed recently, the O. Catto Lodge was located at 16th and Fitzwater Streets in South Philadelphia, where it had been institution and a landmark in the African American community since the 19th century. I'm still not sure what it is that they celebrate.
At the Cambodian New Year block party in South Philly, a guy came dressed in full mummer's parade outfit. He proceeded to bow and say konnichiwa to various people. This year I decided to credential to shoot the parade instead of just shooting from the sidelines. When I applied I thought it was going to be 45F, as it stated in the 15 day outlook. It was a lot of fun, being that cold made the whole parade feel like a community, cause we were all in the same boat, kinda.
I did have the opportunity to party hop, which I did about every ninety minutes. It was exactly what I needed, I warmed up, got a bite to eat and uploaded photos to CBS3, which you can see here.
Councilman Mark Squilla Definitely the best dressed at the parade. Quaker City performs in front of the Union League. The crowd made a circle and everyone enjoyed the performance. The cutest thing, the Mummer shared a pair of gloves with a young fan. This mummer had photos of children around his neck. Then I headed to the Kimmel Center for their family fun day.
It was fairly crowded for the frigid day. There was a lot of fun happening. There was face painting and balloon crafts, this guy is making wings for the little girl. This is definitely the place for families to attend every year.