And Philly said, let there be Mummery: New Year’s Day parade is a go

The Fralinger String Band concludes their performance at Broad and Sansom Streets. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY, file)

The Fralinger String Band concludes their performance at Broad and Sansom Streets. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY, file)

The strut is on. The Mummers will march on Broad Street in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day, despite the bitterly cold weather.

Representatives of Mummers divisions met with city officials on Saturday afternoon to decide whether to postpone the parade, or to proceed as planned. At issue was not only the discomfort of the revelers in dangerously cold weather, but the ability to play instruments.

Brass horns have trouble staying on pitch, and banjos can only be played with bare fingers. Nevertheless, the Mummers will do their best on Monday morning when temperatures are expected to be hovering around zero, factoring in wind chill.

The city will erect five warming tents around the staging area, giving Mummers a place to duck into between performances, according to Leo Dignam, the city’s parade director. Brigades will also be allowed to park their own busses and trucks along the parade route to give marchers a place to warm up.

Dignam also said Sugarhouse Casino, a sponsor of the parade, and TV station PHL17, a media partner, will distribute 5,000 hand warmers to marchers, and provide warming trolleys along the parade route to give musicians a place to keep their instruments from freezing.

Spectators planning to watch the parade from the sidewalk are encouraged to dress very warmly, and to frequently go into the restaurants, cafes, and stores along the parade route to periodically get out of the cold.

The Mummers Parade has existed for 116 years, but has been canceled or postponed in the past due to rain or snow, most recently in 2007.

The parade will step off at 9 a.m. Monday.

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