The new year in Philly kicked off with the annual Mummers Parade as thousands of people gathered from Broad Street to Washington Avenue to partake in the century-old staple.
A cacophony of sound from string bands and brass sections echoed through the streets around City Hall, as the fumes of U-Hauls and gold spray paint filled the air.
Thousands of the city’s finest Wenches, Comics, and Fancies performed for the Philadelphians packing the streets and sidewalks.
Groups tend to spend the previous 365 days planning out their showcases for the New Year’s Day event, including Anthony Archangelo, who marches with the Joey Howlett Jr. Saints. He’s been marching since 1978.
“I got started when I was a kid, and ever since then I got hooked,” Archangelo said.
His group paid tribute to some friends of the group who passed away in 2022, with their “Hillbilly Jamboree.”
“It’s a very good day, the fun, the family, the friends,” Archangelo said. “It’s like, our group’s like a family and friends’ group. We’re all family friends here and it’s just good to hang with them all day long.”
Fellow Philly lifer Diane Barishek started marching when she was a kid, too, and now her kids are marching in the parade wearing attire inspired by Monsters Inc.
“I love the Mummers,” Barishek said. “I live for New Year’s Day. I really do.”
The parade not only took place on Betsy Ross’ 271st birthday, but also on the same day the Eagles played the New Orleans Saints at home.
The parade’s been running for more than a century, but it hasn’t remained free of controversy, as it has had multiple incidents deemed racist, xenophobic, and transphobic. One incident in 2016 led to Mummers having to undergo “sensitivity training.” In 2020, Mayor Jim Kenney ordered the Mummers to stop wearing blackface or else the event would’ve been canceled.