On first day of 2012, it’s Mummers who show true spirit of celebration

    The streets of Philadelphia never looked so good.

    With clear skies and temperatures reaching into the 50’s, thousands of people, beverages and noise makers in hand, ventured to Center City for the Mummers Parade, a tradition that dates back more than 100 years.

    From South Broad Street up to JFK Boulevard, the thousands of parade participants marched the streets with pride, shouting, chanting and cheering – and then doing it all over again at the next drill location along the route.

    The Mummers have roots dating back to the 1600’s, but the parade only officially came together in 1901, when judging first began.

    This year, parade goers were treated to the themes of prohibition, Mardi Gras and even a dragon, complete with mechanically waving arms. After each float traveled by, a cloud of silly string and confetti followed. There was the O’Malley Wench Brigade, the Goodtimers Comic Club and the Ferko String Band.

    In the crowd, spectators didn’t have to know the complete history of each float – and for many – quality, creativity or quantity didn’t seem to matter, as most of the 10,000 parade marchers and their fans appeared to be having the time of their lives.

    The parade, which generally lasts for eight hours, features comics, String Bands and Fancy Brigades. Parade marchers stage skits and large dance numbers for judges, (click here for the Fancy Brigade score sheet) who this year were seated at the finish line along JFK Boulevard near City Hall.

    Although there was a sense of competition near the finish line among parade groups, it was easily overshadowed by the overwhelming sense of happiness and unity, as parade fan and Mummer came together to celebrate on the first day of the new year.

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