The 2011 Mummers Parade has launched the New Year as only Philadelphia can. Ten thousand strutters in 5 Divisions with 3 Comic Clubs, 8 Wench Brigades, 2 Fancy Clubs, 17 String bands and 10 Fancy Brigades thrilled crowds along Broad Street and inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. I saw lots of Lady Gaga spoofs and more than a few environmental and economic themes in the Comics and lots of cute “penguins,” too.
Quaker City String Band has reclaimed 1st Prize in the String Band Division. Fralinger String Band had won 8 times in a row and has owned the 21st Century, but this year, Quaker had the right theme, the right costuming, musical arrangement and musicianship and performed at the top of their game. Captain Charlie Roetz was a perfect clown and his planned fall from the high wire will long be remembered.
Ferko String Band came in 2nd for the second year in a row with its prospecting theme. The judges actually gave them an edge over Quaker in music playing and in visual total production, but Quaker got the edge in the effect of the music and the visual presentation. South Philadelphia came in 3rd, just 00.300 points ahead of 4th place Fralinger.
So many Captains performed exceptionally it was hard to rate them. The judges declared Polish American’s Mark Danielewicz number one and I could tell in practice how good he was. Jack Hee of Avalon also excelled, coming in 2nd. Anthony D’Amore, of Fralinger was third. Anthony Celenza of Ferko and Hegeman’s John Baron proved again their ability and I must commend Denny Palandro of South Philadelphia and Charlie Roetz. I think both made their bands better.
Woodland String Band, South Philadelphia and Fralinger were among those performing early in the competition and historically that is a more difficult challenge. They made the parade a greater parade and set the bar for those who followed. Here is the String Band Order of Finish: Quaker City, Ferko, South Philadelphia, Fralinger, Avalon, Woodland, Hegeman, Polish American, Uptown, Greater Kensington, Aqua, Durning, Duffy, Greater Overbrook, Pennsport, Trilby and Broomall.
In the Fancy Brigades, Jokers NYA and Captain Joe “Bad News” Gallagher claimed first prize with “Clash of the Titans.” South Philly Vikings valiantly defended their title but the Jokers were strong enough to take the top prize. You could clearly see in the brigades performances how intense the competition is getting and how Broadway truly has come to the Convention Center.
The Fancy Division saw tight competition between Golden Sunrise and Hog Island with the Hogs coming out on top, including Captain Kenny Medeiros whose 1950′s theme was an exciting crowd pleaser. Golden Sunrise took first prize in Fancy Trio with “Bee-u-tiful.” The coveted Handsome Costume category was won by Golden Sunrise’s entry “Symphonic Hazard” performed by Jozef Jozefowski. What a beautiful costume! The piano keys, the organ pipes. Well executed. Golden Sunrise took the top three positions in this category. It also won the Handsome Trim category with Winter Wonderland.
Murray Comic Club takes 1st prize for the 13th time in a row. Captain Dennis Pellegrino also scored the big win again with his theme, “There’s Gold in Them There Hills.” Landi won the group top prize with “Chef Landi’s Recipe for a World Series Win.” Murray won the brigades category with Big Daddy Wags’ Jester’s doing “Jungle Jive.” Bud Emig, of B. Love Strutters takes top prize for Brigade Captain.
The Wench Brigades were won this January 1 by Riverfront and its hobo theme with Bryson a close second. Cara Liom came in 3rd. Congratulations to Tom Kelhower, Captain of Riverfront, for taking the 1st prize Captain’s award.
And last but certainly not least, Jake Hart and I are pleased to announce the winner of the annual “Custard’s Last Stand” award for the “punniest” theme. The title also has to work with the theme, not just be a good pun. The 2011 winner of the “Custard’s Last Stand” award is Uptown String Band for its theme title, “Shake, Rattle and Casserole.” Bon Appetit! The Mummers 2011 feast, the 111th official parade up Broad Street, was a delicious delight.
Congratulations to the Mummers. Because of you, the real winners are the citizens of the Philadelphia region and all who get a chance to know you and be entertained by you.