So, you want to watch the spectacle that is the Mummers Parade.
Here’s a little tip sheet for the best feathered-and-sequined-themed time you could possibly hope to have:
First, a little background. Historically, a Mummer was a troupe actor performing seasonal plays in England’s public houses. We’re talking 17tth century here. By the time the tradition made it’s way over to the US, it had become a door-to-door, sing-and-dance routine in exchange for food and drink.
Which is sort of what still happens today – troupes of elaborately costumed performers take to the streets of Philadelphia competing for coveted prize money.
You’ve got your comics, your string bands, your wenches and your fancies making their way up Broad Street to CIty Hall, where the final judging takes place.
Here’s an amazing, interactive map of the parade route, courtesy of the folks at the Daily News.
Expect crowds. Expect revelry. Expect drinking. This year, expect things to be a litte more family friendly, too.
Brigades will perform in five areas this year in addition to the usual 15th Street and Market Street spot: where Broad Street intersects Shunk, Wolf, Washington, Pine and Sansom Streets. We say, unless you feel like purchasing bleacher tickets, avoid Market street.
Don’t worry about being late – the thing goes on all day. Maybe make noonish your target. There’s plenty of time for brunch beforehand, unless you’re obsessed with a front-row spot. In which case, 10ish may be your best bet.
Don’t expect to get across Broad Street anywhere between Spruce and Market. Anywhere.
Do you like to take breaks from standing for hours on end? Maybe a lawn chair is in order. Like refreshments? Throw in a thermos for good measure.
Make friends with someone who lives near the route for bathroom break purposes. It’s possible you should have started on this one earlier.
Finally, party with the stars. Mummers convene for post-parade celebrations on 2nd Street — er, 2 street — in Pennsport. Maybe leave the kids at home for this leg.