Mummers Fancy Brigades are busy this New Year’s Eve setting up for their annual competition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Performers have about five minutes to assemble their sets and perform a choreographed routine for the judges in hopes of winning the glory of a victory.
All 11 brigades were trying on costumes, rehearsing routines and spray-painting their floats. The brigades, the only parade participants to perform on Broad Street and later at the Convention Center, plan their performances far in advance. Many members work all year to strut for one day.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jimmy Hasson of the Jokers troupe was putting the finishing coat of paint on a treasure chest, part of the pirate theme. Hasson said he’d been working on that piece alone since September.
Joker member Eric Messner of South Philly has been a Mummer for 25 years and proudly placed the finishing touches on a talking skull attached to a fork lift. The piece, made of foam and conduit, took Messner four days to create.
Jim Ouimette, a Mummer since the ’70s, was applying paint to one of the Clevemore Brigade’s floats. Clevemore’s theme this year is, “Back to Oz.”
“Under the Convention lights, every bit of glitter counts,” said Ouimette as he hurriedly threw glitter on the piece.