Editor’s note: Mummers Mardi Gras has been postponed to Saturday, Feb. 28.
Manayunk’s residents are no stranger to exciting community events. From the annual bike rice, to the Manayunk Arts Festival and the Philadelphia Marathon, people have gathered along Main Street for decades to celebrate Philadelphia’s traditions.
This Sunday will bring the Mummers to Main Street for a new tradition in the name of Mardi Gras.
Mummers Mardi Gras, a fundraising event benefitting the Philadelphia String Band Association, was launched last year by Roxborough-based advertising and event firm ADVENT Consulting.
The inaugural event, which took place at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties, was a 21-plus gathering that drew over 1,200 spectators and included performances from four of the top five string bands.
“It was a great event,” said Joe DeCandido, founder and owner of ADVENT Consulting. “But when I saw little kids having to stand behind the gates to watch their father’s string bands perform, it just didn’t feel right.”
A family event
DeCandido said he spent the following months attending events and meetings with the Philadelphia String Band Association.
“What I learned from attending these meetings is what a family tradition the Mummers is. Generations of fathers, sons, grandfathers,” he said. “I’m a close knit family guy myself, so for the 2015 event I wanted to really stay true to who the Mummers are…making it a family-friendly parade down Main Street in Manayunk just seemed like the perfect fit.”
For Jane Lipton, executive director ofthe Manayunk Development Corporation, getting on board with Mummers Mardi Gras was a no brainer.
“We are so thrilled to be hosting the parade and joining in on a beloved Philadelphia tradition,” she said. “We are hoping this is just the beginning of something wonderful.”
The parade will kick off at Shurs Lane and Main Street at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. The 17 participating strings bands will perform and strut their way towards Green Lane until noon.
Storefronts and restaurants along the street will be offering up special promotions and activities as well as serving as “clubhouses” for the bands’ families and friends until 4 p.m.
Face painting, photo opportunities, a silent auction and raffles are just a few of the additional activities spectators can expect at the 2015 Mummers Mardi Gras.
While the parade is free to the public, $10 wristbands may be purchased for those who want special access to promotions and activities.
DeCandido and Lipton both noted that the Mummers Mardi Gras is a fundraising event so donations are encouraged.
The MDC and ADVENT have launched the “I Am a Mummer” program, and online fundraising campaign to ensure that the 115 year old, uniquely Philadelphia tradition, will continue. Donors can go to to purchase apparel or make a donation.
“We’re hoping to throw a really entertaining parade for families to enjoy, for local businesses to prosper, and for the Mummers to gain even more community exposure,” said DeCandido.
In case of inclement weather, the parade will be held on Saturday February 28th. Updates will be available on Manayunk.com.