Oh, Dem Frozen Slippers: Mummers may delay New Year’s parade due to bitter cold

Mummers in golden slippers strut up Broad Street on New Year's Day 2013. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)</p>

Mummers in golden slippers strut up Broad Street on New Year's Day 2013. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

With New Year’s Day in Philadelphia expected to be one of the coldest in recent memory, city leaders have been meeting with organizers of the annual Mummers Parade to decide whether to postpone it.

Factoring in wind chill, the temperature may not rise much above zero on Monday.

That means it may be too cold to strut.

The Mummers are no strangers to cold weather. Their elaborate costumes are often designed with a thermal under layer to keep them entertaining outside on Broad Street as long as possible.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years. We’ve had parades in the 20s, starting off in the morning in the teens,” said Leo Dignam, the city’s director for the annual Mummers Parade. “This is probably the coldest I can remember, though.”

Dignam is meeting with leaders of the Mummer divisions, some of which are considering postponing the parade until next weekend. However, next Saturday’s forecast is not looking much better.

To encourage holding the parade on New Year’s Day, the city is offering some amenities, such as allowing divisions to park warming buses along the parade route, to give revelers some respite before going back out into the cold.

“Also, we’re going to put out warming tents in the staging area,” said Dignam. “We’ve arranged for five warming tents around the staging area, so that, between rehearsals, they can warm up in the tents.”

Spectators are encouraged to dress warmly and frequently pop into the many coffee shops, restaurants, and stores open along Broad Street.

The Mummers and city representatives will meet again over the weekend to determine what exactly will happen on Monday morning — whether they’ll be postponing the parade or adapting their unofficial anthem to “Oh, Dem Frozen Slippers.”

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