The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia had a twist Thursday. Whereas in past years the strutting started in South Philly and moved north, this time the parade began at City Hall and moved south.
The change inspired a protest by dozens at Broad Street and Oregon Avenue, which used to be on the parade route.
“It’s a sad situation,” said Gloria Lamborghini, a protester who has gone to the parade for 65 years strong. “We’re losing everything.”
To people not originally from Philadelphia, it might be hard to understand why the change was controversial. Something that used to go northward is now going southward. But the Delaware Valley residents who are critical of the Mummers’ new route say it cuts a mile-and-a-half swath of South Philadelphia out of the New Year’s parade.
“They should have kept with tradition and kept it going through South Philly like it used to be,” said Colleen Treacy of Delaware County. “It’s the home of the Mummers. It’s where they practice.”
These weren’t the only complaints Mummers’ fans had about the new route.
Lenora Palomino, who watched from near City Hall, said it was less sunny there than at its previous starting point in South Philly.
“I think it stinks,” she said. “It’s better if it just comes up Broad. The road is wider down there and you can get some sunshine.”
The Mummers and city officials are behind the change. They said altering the route would make the parade more fun and draw larger crowds.
Charles Lundy, a longtime fan of the Mummers Parade, questioned that logic: “It ain’t bring no more people here because everybody got to come to Broad Street anyhow.”
But not everyone was unhappy. Rich Mullen of Bucks County said a more compact parade was easier to watch.
“At least you don’t have to wait a half-hour for the next section to come,” he said. “It’s busy.”
Critics will be watching to see if the new route sticks. The Mummers strutted a few years on Market Street only to come back to tradition.