2 Street

For those unfamiliar with the Mummers, Mummers Row is where most of the Mummers Clubs reside. This stretch of Second Street South from Washington Avenue and on to Third Street South to Wolf is the heart and soul of Mummery. It can be the friendliest corridor in the city. Mummers know that at different times throughout the year, String Bands and clubs in other divisions will march or serenade along the Row. Most of the time, this is a fun, informal experience.  But, on New Year’s night after the parade, the post-parade gathering has gotten out of hand and in my observation it is mostly not the fault of the Mummers.

On the good side, thousands and thousands of people are there in the closing hours of celebrating the New Year. String Bands, Fancy Brigades, Fancy Clubs, Wenches and Comics are coming back to their clubhouses. Some clubs who have clubhouses in other neighborhoods but want to be a part of the experience, may pass through, too. It’s also where many spouses, kids and significant others see the performing Mummers for the first time that day since the parade. It’s often where a String Band, like Woodland, and a Brigade would learn that they won. It is a special time and place as the annual tradition draws to a close. To Mummers, even though it was on a public street, it was a private, or family affair.  But, on the bad side, in reality for many years it’s been a magnet for others.  Recently, a full beer can was thrown was thrown at my head. I know, what a waste of a good beer. 

For more than a decade, the character of the night has been rapidly changing. It is wrong to say that the post-parade was always free of problems, or that over indulgence was never a problem among a few people. But, it is true to say that it it used to be a lot better. For more than a decade, the problems have been worsening. Even with the problems, it is still relatively safe when compared to some other neighborhoods in those same hours. But, unchecked, that could change and safety is not the only concern. The intimidating and frustrating problems of property damage, public urination, and loud cursing seem to be growing. Why is this happening and what can be done about it?  Is this just the price of success?  Would New Orleans complain? Can we not endure a little rowdiness? Or, do we need to do something now?

I have been on 2 Street New Year’s night most of the past 20 years and have spoken with a good many Mummers about what it is and what is should be. The residents of Mummers Row believe the big problem is that people from outside the neighborhood, with no sense of responsibility for the neighborhood, come in to do what they will. Many of these people are teenagers, underage drinkers.  These teens and young adults, often with backpacks full of beer and booze, treat Mummers Row as if it is their playground and their restroom. Some are from the area but they are coming from throughout the region. During this New Year’s Day Parade broadcast the evening was not mentioned at all.  Being quiet about this, not mentioning it, is not going to stop it. They know.

The first step in solving any problem is to face it honestly. To start cleaning up our mess we have to control our part of the mess. Among 10 thousand parading Mummers, it’s not unreasonable to think a few dozen might misbehave, but we need to address it. Some of the troublemakers have been people who are Mummers or who look like Mummers. More on that later. The main problem is irresponsible behavior, influenced by alcohol abuse and often, perhaps mostly, by people who do not live in the neighborhood. Most of the bad behavior I have witnessed has been by people who are not members of  Mummers Clubs.

The news media need to be part of the discussion. Yes, over the years, parade broadcasts and, more often, the nightly news broadcasts, talked about the 2 Street event. But that event has become a word of mouth happening, and a Texting, Facebook and Twitter event. Asking news stations to pretend that an event involving thousands of people using public streets and taxpayers money does not exist is not the answer. Even if the event were shut down, future serenades on different days might encounter similar problems given how the troublemakers communicate today. What is fair is to demand that the media not inflame or incite the attendees and not misreport what incidents do happen. For example, a small fight in a large crowd should not be called a “massive Mummers brawl.” The Mummers should not be held to a different standard, higher or lower, than any other gathering of citizens, including fans at sporting events. The Mummers also should not be blamed for actions by non Mummers, any more than we would blame one of our sports teams for the rowdiness of “fans” at a championship parade.  And finally on this point, Philadelphia needs to recognize it is because of Mummers families and clubs that some neighborhoods are as safe as they are.

Look at this child’s face.  This is what most of Mummery is about.  Happiness, family, freedom. I know that Councilman Mark Squilla wants to solve the New Year’s night problem. I believe Councilman Jim Kenney does, too. Many Mummers and non-Mummer residents of 2 Street want a solution and some of them have expressed a willingness to get the neighborhood together and begin addressing the problems.

Every idea should be treated seriously.  For example: Will police have to make mass arrests of underage drinkers? Will there be a need for a special court as there was at football games? Will there have to be tighter alcohol restrictions? Can the area be considered a block party and outsiders be kept out? If so, how would that happen, who would or even could it be enforced, and, who would pay for that? If it’s open to the public, how should police behave? Do residents want police never to look the other way? Can a people’s security force, a one night town watch, be formed, to observe and set the tone, but not engage. More to spot trouble and call the police in.  Should the evening be canceled altogether?  How can the media report on an event without influencing the event? To what degree are Mummers involved and if substantially, is it because some are the “Mum for a Day” variety who abuse the opportunity? Every question should be on the table and every answer listened to.

The vast majority of Mummers, even the ones who like to take a sip or two, are not the problem, but they are likely to be a big part of the solution. It will take a concerted effort involving residents, Mummers, the police, elected officials, the business community, the media, and parents to get this under control. It begins with a sincere desire to listen, to compromise and to act. This can lead to answers that will prevent serious problems, include a city that wants to be happy, and restore the warm coming home that people of the Mummers tradition remember and desire.

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56 Responses

  1. As a resident and a Marshall for a wench brigade keeping the street to the Mummers/badges marshalls (as it used to be) is imperative. It gets worse every year navigating the truck and hundreds of wenches through outside vendors along with prominading outsiders. That would restrict people to the sidewalks and the residents (like myself, who live on the route) to help control who is camping infront of their homes. Allowing free reign of the street to all creates room for more people, creates conflicts and limits the prominading teenagers that create problems so often.

    • Thank you, Chris.

    • I totally agree with you not having the club badges were one of the starts to to problems. People who do not have the club badges should not be allowed up the street. For residents they can have resident badges. I think that this would crack down on a lot of the crowds and unwanted out of control party crashers.

      • not that they should have only badges they should have something one if they r marshalls of the club that they r walking wit that they have been wit all day for example jackets shirts or hoodies of the new yrs club or they should buy a badge so ppl kknow who they r wit

  2. My first 35 years of life were spent celebrating New Year’s Day on 2 St. I was born and raised in the 100 block of Pierce St., right in the heart of Mummers Row….listenng for the beat of the stringbands, open houses with pepperpot soup, kielbasa and sauerkraut, chilli, family, friends and dancing in the street to welcome the New Year (back in my day it was a coup,if as a young female teenager, you could get an ostrich feather from one of the headdresses…..The Mummers are a tradition (including the informal march down Mummers row) which should be preserved at all costs…When my daughter was married in 2002 in Arizona, her godmother brought 20 small decorated umbrellas from Philly and a CD of Frallnger String Band….let me just say that all the non Philly guests were astonished as we took to the floor for O Dem Golden Slippers, strutting and hooting and hollering….these types of traditions and rituals are what give some meaning to life….something familiar to hold onto in the midst of economic and social chaos…….

  3. Okay were can I get a copy of this article? The picture of the little boy in this blog is my son. He comes from a long line of Mummers.This was his first mummers parade ever and he is so excited! I would love to have a copy!

  4. I haven’t been down on 2nd Street for New Year’s Day in a couple of years and was so excited about going this year hoping to see old friends and our wonderful mummers. Boy, was I disappointed! It was a “sea” of rowdy, unfamiliar faces. In previous years, I would venture up 2nd Street knowing that I would meet family and friends but this year, I did not feel comfortable (or safe enough) to do so; it just did not feel like the “2 Street” I know and remember fondly!

    Steve, as always, your knowledge and coverage of the Mummer’s Parade is impeccable, to say the least! Thank you. :)

  5. Great blog, Steve. As a former resident on 2nd Street, I go there on New Year’s Day hoping to spend time with family and friends like the Good Ol’ Days. But those days are long gone and have been for a long time. I won’t allow my mother, who has lived and still lives in the neighborhood, walk down the street for fear she will be hurt. Friends keep their kids inside out of fear.

    I agree with Chris above. And I also believe that closing the bars along the 2nd Street route will help alleviate the issue. 2nd & Mifflin is a disgrace and a powder keg just waiting to explode.

    On a side note, thank you, Steve, for always being so supportive of the Mummers every year! It means a lot to a lot of people/

  6. How about the mummers do a small parade for 2st first before drunken rowdiness begins and let braod street deal with all the straglers! I couldn’t even bring my kids on my corner to see their father march that’s depressing. I’m doing broad street next year!

    • I like the idea of doing a parade only for 2st but it shouldnt have to be on a different day. a lot of the problem is the out of town people that only come to 2nd street once a year and the only reason they come is to get trashed. they dont care about the parade or how important it is to the people of the neighborhood. Its too bad that the 2nd street residents cant close the neighborhood down and only let in certain friends and family. that way they parade can come down 2nd with less problems.

      I grew up on 2nd st and i know it has its fill of idiots and trouble makers. If people from other areas want to see the parade they should have to go to broad st. not the people of our neighborhood..

  7. Steve great article.. As a member of the Shooting Stars, and my frist year back after a long absence, I was amazed and stunned at the change in the crowds.. I remember in years past I knew just about everybody on 2street, this year besides my fellow club members I knew maybe all of 2 people.. Also as for the Clubs that are not on 2nd street yet decide to march through the row, they need to respect the street where the tradition was born.. Though total disrespect of the people on 2 street by a club from 10th and Moore, shows why that club shouldn’t even be considered a Mummers Club… Keep up the good work Steve..

    • By 10th and Moore you mean The Vikings? People need to stop throwing bottles at them and yelling names at them regarding their nationality! The Vikings classy Mummers. Thank You!

  8. i am not a resident, but i’ve been to a few on 2nd street with friends that are/were residents. i had a great time, but there were a few incidents that really were disappointing. Littering, urinating, fornicating, swearing, smoking… all this going on with children present. Then there were the Pagans picking fights with kids and others. At one point there was this drunk man leaning on me and my friends and wretching. I asked the police officer to please get him away from me/us. His response was, “i’m only here for crowd control”. Nice. I get it, but c’mon wouldn’t that be considered a form of “crowd control”? i hope for the residents some sort of changes to protect them and their homes are made. There was more comaraderie than bs. It was nice to see most people back eachother up and help out.

  9. I agree Steve with everything you wrote! I also agree with Val that only badged mummers should be the only ones in the streets, I have heard of a few incidents of spectators that walked through the brigade on 2st and were asked to move to the side and let the club by. Most of the time the spectator moved a few times the spectator took a swing at the marshall. I can’t say that it was an out of towner or not. I myself grow up on 2st, my house is now the riverfront club house and I live in New Jersey now. To me the problem is they mostly with youg drinkers, weither it be underaged or the newly legal drinkers that don’t know how to control themselves. I feel bad for the residents that live on the route that their peoperty is damaged. As I see it if WE as mummers can not find away to handle this, the after parade that we have come know to love will end.Steve as usual THANK YOU!!!!!!!! for all you do and say on behalf of the mummers. You truly are one of the best!!!!!

  10. I am a member of the Jesters Comic Brigade. As FULL MEMBERS, myself and the rest of my Jester brothers care about what matters: family, friends, fun, and the joy of ringing in the new year with all of our fellow Mummers be it comic clubs, fancy brigade, or string band. (And of course winning…lol) I think the idea of a “Members Only” Policy would help drastically. Badges would help this by only allowing members of clubs and their families (limited number such as wives and children) to partake in the festivities. The people who get what these days are all about and are not just looking to drink excessively and start trouble. I know that growing up at 12th and McKean, I loved going to 2st to see friends I went to school with to congratulate them for their hard-work and talent as well as family and all of the club houses. Unfortunately, not everyone is like me so a limited number of non-mummers is needed A Members Only Policy would help ensure safety of the neighborhood, people, and the integrity of what the Mummers stand for. By having police and club members enforce this policy and neighbors reporting abuse of this policy, we can all work together to restore the fun associated with these days. Happy New Year everyone….all of the clubs looked great! Congrats to the 2st Stompers, Murray, Hog Island, Woodland, and SPV on their wins this year.

    How Dat!?!,

    Matty-Ice

    • Dat Good.

    • I second the non-members shouldn’t be allowed in the parade. There’s no sense of ownership with people who just throw on a suit and start drinking one day a year. A member needs to be involved in all aspects of the club, including meetings, club clean-up, etc.

  11. There is a high school at 3rd and mifflin street along the parade route called Furness. Someone made a suggestion to me that we could have an on site judge at the high scholl like the eagles did below the Vet/Linc. The police would be instructed to take anyone causing trouble to the judge where they would be evicted from the parade route and told to go home or sent to 8th and race. I also believe fines such as underage drinking or open container violations should be tripled that day but again this takes a great deal of cooperation from law enforcement

    • I love this idea. The cops use the Furness School on New Years day to get warm and eat. They could make it even more useful by holding “court” inside. I witnesses hundreds of underage drinkers as well as many people smoking pot while I was standing with my daughter. The police could take them all inside the school, hold them until midnight when their parents pick them up and fine them with the maximum fine allowed!!!!!!

  12. ive been a mummer for many years and its sickening that people from outside come a ruin it for us, who work hard all year to put these shows together for are neighbors and honor the tradition of 2nd street. I personally think it should be a bracelet event, meaning no bracelet on the street, cops can kick you off. Anyone from this neighborhood can get them for their families and it will keep the “backpackers” away from are parade.

  13. Steve
    Thank you so much for this article I live in the neighborhood and have for 30 plus years. I come from a long line of mummers. The scenery has changed so much and not for the better. I agree with everything you said and wish I had a workable solution. A few bad apples are spoiling the pie. I saw the you tube brawl. What a joke. The media really messed up that one. Thanks for your loyalty.

  14. The difference between Madri Gras is that the party is on streets full of bars, hotels, and restaurant. 2nd Street is full of our homes.

  15. anonymous
    I have house on 2nd street for 15 years now. I can tell u
    every year by the weather what kind of parade we r going to
    have. Warm nice weather brings craziness. Cold fridig gives us
    our parade back..The weather has been to nice the last few years..

    • Absolutely Sue! …and until some people admit that the craziness happens many times a year with and without “outsiders” nothing will change

  16. Thank you Steve for a great article.

  17. I agree with everything that has been said so far. As a mother of a member of Fralinger String Band I find it frustrating that scenes such as these are present. What Betty Ann Delaney posted is true 2nd Street is full of their homes and not a pretty site to be seen anymore ,since things are getting out of control. If there is a way to subdue some of the hooligans I’m all for it.

  18. Steve,
    I am a member of a fancy Brigade. I understand everyones concern. Believe me I have seen it all. The weather was warm and people we drinking all day on Broad street and 2nd street.
    We unfortunately had a guy throw firecrackers into the area where about 10 of our youngest members, 2 to 10 year olds, were standing and ran into his house as we were making our way past 2nd and Greenwich around 8:30 pm. We did the right thing and let the police handle it.
    As a club we enforce our own rules and police our ourselves. We do not drink any alcahol until we leave the convention center after the second show usually after 7pm.
    I hear alot of people saying keep the outsiders out. Who can we consider outsiders? Many of us live in New Jersey now. Keeping non residents out of the neighborhood would be great but is also impossible, and that is only my opinion.
    I suggest moderation. If residents invite family and friends dont let them get so drunk and the same goes for the general public. I actually saw a guy with a 1/4 keg tapped on his shoulder walking down the street. the police should also keep an eye out for people binge drinking. We do our part and so should everyone else. its a day of tradition not Drinking.
    We parade in Wildwood every summer and dont have half of the isuues we have in Philadelphia due to the restrictions of drinking in public and and crowd control.
    Im not saying to ban beer on the street but have a good time and be sensible about your actions!!!!

  19. I think it is unfair that clubs outside of Mummers Row are getting such a bad rap. Do not get me wrong, there are troublemakers in these clubs as are there in every club. Just because we do not live on or have a club on 2nd Street, we should not all be ostracized. My club does not come down there to start trouble yet we always feel that we are not welcome there. Is it because I bleed Red, White, and Green and they bleed Red, White, and Orange? I don’t know. I though we all bled RED, WHITE, and BLUE which gives all of us the right to go where ever we please. That being said, I agree 100% with non-mummers being banned from these events as they seem to be the ones that start the trouble. Think about it…two 19 year old kids have been arguing for weeks about something stupid like a girl, who wrote what on facebook, who came into my neighborhood, etc….now when these two kids meet and drinking is involved…of course there will be trouble no matter where it happens. Not saying that I think it is right, but in this day and age, its guaranteed to happen. The only way to cut the issues is to make sure the people who work so hard all year long to put on a good show Jan 1, no matter where they live, are the only ones involved. I don’t expect a club from 2nd Street to come to 13th and Shunk and start trouble at my clubhouse so I have enough respect not to start trouble down there. I am just tired of the clubs off of 2nd Street getting a bad rap….I have been hearing it all day on Facebook and it pisses me off. We are good people, just as the people who live on Second St are. Please do not lump us all together…The Vikings and the Jesters hear the word Dego more than the words “Happy New Year” on Jan 1 and it is about time that it stops. Just because people saw Viking coats does not mean they were all involved. I saw the video and I saw grown men out of suits and men in wench costumes throwing punches not Vikings. Just remember where you guys march at…our neighborhood…and we have no problem with that what so ever…so why is there such a problem with us (the mummers who care from outside of 2 St) coming to party with you guys? We are all mummers…If we don’t stick together we won’t have to worry about the “after party” because there will not even be a Parade to party after and that would be awful.

    Matty-Ice
    Jesters N.Y.B.

    • I agree! Im irish from 2st and last year I stood outside the pirates club and remember a bottle being thrown at the captain of the vikings while being called a @$%+ dego. This year I watched my own scream obsenity as they walked by again. Within seconds, I saw someone ask aman to get behind the baracade and allow the club to pass by. Dressed as a wench, he cursed and swung not only at the Marshall but at a young female. later on it came to be that the person in the costume was not even a mummer. It was a group of outsiders that purchased these suits. Since when do we allow others to just buy these suits without being a member of a club?

      • Wow purchasing suits that is a new one but i can see whyit would work. Thatis why it is so important for the club badges with current year abd theme listed on it. It would really help reduce the outsiders (non mummers/marshals) i don’t know why a lot of clubs do not wear them anymore but they should be required. Also we need to respect eachother no matter where we are people,mummers,marshals,ect. We as mummers need to realize that the city already dont like us and would love to have a reason to get rid of us do not let them win. There should be no divison between fellow mummers. We are here to compete but in all to have fun! Its a shame 2 st has gotten this out of hand but we all need to unite and come up with a solution not blame eachother. We cant change the past but lets come up with a solution.

  20. Good article addressing some key points. Living there and being a Mummer, I feel these issues need to be addressed ALL YEAR long, not just around New Years. There are fights, underage drinking, public urination and property damage on Mummers Row by a small amount of Mummers and associates of Mummers all throughout the year. This needs to be address by councilmen, neighbors, PPD, etc as well. A lot of these behaviors comes directly from people leaving clubhouses and bars. The majority of New Years clubs allow underage drinking during “Sunday Fundays” and party nights. Why is this OK? Is it to raise money for the clubs or just ignorance? Club officers need to control this and not allow it just because they are members or children of members. There are also local bars who have been shut down repeatedly for underage drinking but re-open and start all over again. This is causing the problem too. It all starts with the examples we model. Why should we expect people to behave differently on NYD than they do on any given Sunday.

    The neighbors need to speak up about these issues and have them addressed all year round. PPD, Councilmen and State Representatives are aware of these issues but only get involved when the media does so it looks like they’re doing their jobs.

    I understand a lot of the issues during the after party are from “outsiders” viewing the parade, but is it fair to isolate a public tradition. How do these outsiders find out about the parade? My guess would be a friend of a friend is a Mummer and invited them.

    In my opinion, clubs should only allow MEMBERS to march, not random acquaintances who pays for a suit and only comes around once a year, there’s no sense of ownership or dedication in that.
    Clubs should be responsible for anyone they allow to walk with them down 2nd Street.There also should be barricades from Washington Ave all the way to Wolf street to help the marshals do their job.

    If we don’t get a handle on this growing problem, a beautiful tradition celebrated and loved by thousands will be forever tarnished by a few.

  21. One of the best deterrents to rowdy and disrespectful drinkers would be the “Mummers Court”, this could be set up in Furness High School at 3rd & Mifflin Sts. Of course there would have to be strict enforcement of some basic misdemeanors such as underage drinking, public urination, and rowdiness. The offenders could be held at the high school until their parents drove in from the suburbs to pay their fine and take them home, ruin their New Years Day just like they ruined ours.

  22. I am new to marching , I myself , being from over the bridge never cared for 2nd st , was always nervous about looking over mt shoulder constantly , people are way to intoxicated . This year being in a club I really Dan

  23. Although I’m not a member and I don’t live in Philly, my boyfriend has been in a 2nd street club for years. I don’t neccessarily agree that the 2nd street parade should be members only; I have walked the parade with their club as if I was one of their own and with pride, not as a drunken hot mess. I do agree with the frustration that homeowners on 2nd street have with the underage drinking, fights, and the nonsense that drunks create while trying to “participate” in the parade. It is also frustrating for the club members and marshals who have put all their time and effort for this day to be ruined by outsiders. People need a reality check and remember what this tradition is about and respect Mummers Row – this includes all clubs, whether your on 2nd street or not. We get it if your a rival club or not, but bashing other clubs and 2nd street infront of thousands of people where this tradition originated is down right disrespectful – you should be ashamed of yourselves. If it was my way, you would be kicked out of the Mummers events altogether.

  24. Sorry Steve, you are very misinformed and sadly, perpetuating the nonsense circulating in Pennsport this very moment. It’s obvious that you have absorbed the spin by the mummers who are totally unwilling to accept the facts. The number one problem with the 2 St parade right now is the new generation of mummers. It is 90% of them causing 90% of the problems and 10% outsiders. I’ve lived on 2 street for nearly 30 years and have seen the change. I left here when I was very young, so moving back here to a family home gave me a pretty unbiased view. When I first moved back, the guys were (who are now in their 40s and 50s) were completely different than the kids there now. You never heard them causing so much trouble at the clubs and the after parade was sooo wonderful. They always performed and were so great. The new generations are a bunch of entitled punks and their parents are clueless. They have no respect for the neighborhood and THEY bring the “others” to the neighborhood. They scream and yell and blast music at all hours. They kazoo party, which is 99% neighborhood people was absolutely disgusting. I had a big pile of puke right outside my door and when I said something to the kid—with their jacket— I was cursed at. In the club down the street they constantly stand outside cursing, yelling and slamming doors almost every weekend…. Always until 3 or 4 in the morning and beyond. Anyone that tries to get them to stop is harassed and I know of at least one neighbor who their house smashed. Even the residents who have lived here their entire life are sick of them and their “new” friends. I know people that used to be in the mummers that have called the cops on these jerks, so please don’t act like this is an “outside” problem. Sure, the parade is getting a lot more fools, but the attitude that anything goes is the mummer kids. This is a problem with the mummers and it is year round. The clubs need to get their obnoxious kids under control and have them stop inviting other kids to come to their clubs. They have to stop thinking this is “not my kid” and face the facts. Once you fix that problem, you can worry about the outside people… but maybe telling your kids how to act will include not bringing idiots home.

    • First, thank you for adding to this conversation. And, if I’m wrong. That’s fine. If this conversation can be a part of correcting, ending or lessening this problem, I’m happy. I know what I meant and why I wrote it. I have no agenda. But, here is what I said, “The residents of Mummers Row believe the big problem is that people from outside the neighborhood, with no sense of responsibility for the neighborhood, come in to do what they will. Many of these people are teenagers, underage drinkers.” That is the majority opinion. I am sure some of the problems are with Mummers, but there are many “outsiders.” The police and city officials, not Mummers, have directly told me that they believe that is a major part of the problem. This is not “spin.” Now, to be clear, none of us has done an address check, so truth is we don’t know the ratio of residents to non residents. But whether “outsider” is defined as someone not from 2 Street, or someone not from Pennsport, or someone who is a Mummer for a day and not a full member, we have to consider that “outsiders” play a significant role in the problem. If anyone infers from that that Mummers bear no responsibility that is a mistaken inference. Cleaning up starts always starts at home.

    • I am glad to hear this because I keep hearing that it is clubs that are Italian are who to blame. I hate to be blunt but it is a problem if they are not welcomed on 2nd Street because they are Italian and not Irish like 90% of the NYB Clubs. I could be wrong but as a non-member to any club. I have friends and family in one club particular and I see this as a problem more than anything, how can that be resolved or can it?

  25. I don’t know what went wrong this year, but it was totally unacceptable. I am 47 years old and march with the Jesters. Yes, I am from an Italian neighborhood and when I was growing up, we didn’t go on 2nd street on New Years Day, our celebration was on Broad Street. We were there all day, into the night and then went to one of our friends houses to crash. When they took the parade off Broad Street, and even now, when it ends so early, 2nd Street became the tradition for ALL South Philly. By 1996/97 South Philly was a smaller community and everyone seemed to get along. We teased, but that was as far as it went. As a priest who taught a lot of people from all over South Philly, I came to know a lot of people on 2nd Street. Great people, good families. It was an enjoyable time on 2 St. New Years night. Over the past few years, New Years night on 2 st. started to get a little trashier. A lot of college kids like to just come here and get drunk with no understanding of mummers tradition. Walking down 2nd street, I began to know fewer and fewer people, unlike years before. Recently, there has again been some bad blood between people from other neighborhoods. It is the young bucks, primarily. Add alcohol and it gets real ugly. Even the families I know that live on 2nd street have stopped having open house. The brigades and string bands don’t perform. This year when I finally got to 2nd street and met up with the Vikings who were marching near Moore Street, someone from the crowd had maced one of its members while he was walking and talking to a friend. This never happened before. These incidents upset them and I know some of the Vikings did some things they are not proud of afterwards. But it has never been like this before. I don’t know how, when or where it all started, but it needs to end. And the heads of all these clubs need to sit down and figure this all out with representatives from the neighborhood. I would hate to see some of these traditions end because of the few, as one person has mentioned, irresponsible and ignorant people. I have friends and know people in just about every club on 2nd street, I love to joke around with them and tease (I loved Froggy Carr’s “Frog the Jesters” poster) . . . but some of these guys are always looking for a fight. I know our club has a zero tolerance for this and we are coming down hard on the trouble makers. If every club would do this, I think we would at least for the mummers and members, give a little better example.

    • i like your post father its mostly true but i need to amend your one sentence. The stringbands do perform! Im a member of FSB and we were first to go down the street I believe and we had a blast the whole way down. It was the most fun Ive had in years.

  26. This was my first year marching up Broad Street with a String Band. I have been attending this parade for a little under 50 years, and have some thought and ideas about the parade in general. Also an idea or two about 2nd Street.

    As bands, the Mummers Association, and Mummers Museum struggle financially, I think it is appropriate that fan members of the Mummers Association be given first shot at seating near cameras and judging. It is the true die hard mummer fan that should first have the opportunity at these prime seats. One is reason is that a true fan will give the round of applauds and cheers that they all deserve as the approach the camera. I remember a time when there was so much cheering on the street for these guys. Its not what it used to be. By doing this, these associations can increase membership base and at the same time, raise needed monies. Honestly, I cant even say if there is such a thing as a fan being a member. Maybe the possibility extending this to the 6 performance areas along Broad.

    I agree with all the publicity, 2nd Street has become an attraction for teens who just want to get trashed and say they were at 2nd Street. This should be a private party amongst Mummers Association members (that would be a big umbrella comprising of string bands, fancies, brigades, and fans who are members). If fan base grows to a point where it would be impossible to invite them all to two street, then a lottery could be done every year with the fans. Additionally, guest ribbons could be granted to friends/family of mummers.

    I also believe there needs to be more education about thee history of this parade. The teenagers and trouble makers have no clue what this parade is really about. Is this tradition even taught as a lesson in our Philadelphia public schools? The theme in so many words of the parade is “make good with the neighbors”; the Second Christmas.

    My next idea will be controversial, but should be given some thought. As I marched up Broad Street this year, I could not help but notice so many :”dead spots” along the route on such a beautiful day. These dead spots could be filled with mini mummer organizations. These would be made of fans and parade goers and bring another dimension to the parade. Mostly, the would still be considered spectators. The could be from local neighbors or from another county but understand the parades history and roots. They would be fairly organized, dressed in costume.They can act as a filler along the parade route. They could have their own mini association as well and be subjected to rules and regulations. Out of these associations, aspiring groups could go on to becoming members of the larger Mummers Association. It would act as a springboard for groups who may want to start their own String Band,Brigade, or another Club. This could be a way to inject new enthusiasm, respect, and cash flow into the parade. Just a passing idea. I would appreciate constructive comments, especially regarding the seating areas by the cameras.

  27. This was my first year marching up Broad Street with a String Band. I have been attending this parade for a little under 50 years, and have some thought and ideas about the parade in general. Also an idea or two about 2nd Street.

    As bands, the Mummers Association, and Mummers Museum struggle financially, I think it is appropriate that fan members of the Mummers Association be given first shot at seating near cameras and judging. It is the true die hard mummer fan that should first have the opportunity at these prime seats. One is reason is that a true fan will give the round of applauds and cheers that they all deserve as the approach the camera. I remember a time when there was so much cheering on the street for these guys. Its not what it used to be. By doing this, these associations can increase membership base and at the same time, raise needed monies. Honestly, I cant even say if there is such a thing as a fan being a member. Maybe the possibility extending this to the 6 performance areas along Broad.

    I agree with all the publicity, 2nd Street has become an attraction for teens who just want to get trashed and say they were at 2nd Street. This should be a private party amongst Mummers Association members (that would be a big umbrella comprising of string bands, fancies, brigades, and fans who are members). If fan base grows to a point where it would be impossible to invite them all to two street, then a lottery could be done every year with the fans. Additionally, guest ribbons could be granted to friends/family of mummers.

    I also believe there needs to be more education about thee history of this parade. The teenagers and trouble makers have no clue what this parade is really about. Is this tradition even taught as a lesson in our Philadelphia public schools? The theme in so many words of the parade is “make good with the neighbors”; the Second Christmas.

    My next idea will be controversial, but should be given some thought. As I marched up Broad Street this year, I could not help but notice so many :”dead spots” along the route on such a beautiful day. These dead spots could be filled with mini mummer organizations. These would be made of fans and parade goers and bring another dimension to the parade. Mostly, the would still be considered spectators. The could be from local neighbors or from another county but understand the parades history and roots. They would be fairly organized, dressed in costume.They can act as a filler along the parade route. They could have their own mini association as well and be subjected to rules and regulations. Out of these associations, aspiring groups could go on to becoming members of the larger Mummers Association. It would act as a springboard for groups who may want to start their own String Band,Brigade, or another Club. This could be a way to inject new enthusiasm, respect, and cash flow into the parade. Just a passing idea. I would appreciate constructive comments, especially regarding the seating areas by the cameras.

  28. I have been a Mummer for the last 5 years and before I started marching I helped family and friends with the parade. I remember that New Year’s Day meant going to Broad St. to watch the Mummers strut their stuff. As I got older and started getting more involved with the parade it also meant 2 St. It was nice then, we could parade up with relatively no problems. And now…its not if there will be problems it is when will the problem happen. Our marshalls try to keep us as safe as they can since many of the drunks like to try and walk through the clubs, or follow us, or what ever else they can try and think of. It used to be if you were in a suit, most people would say hello and happy new year….now it’s F@*k You and I don’t have to leave/move. I understand all sides of this conversation. I know that some Mummers don’t hold themselves to the best of standards and will get into some trouble (they have to deal with it along with their club). On the flip side I see where the Mummers and residents are coming from…alot of it does have to do with the outsiders that come to 2 St. because they can drink and carry on like the fools they are. On more than one occasion while in suit I have had words with people because they can’t comprehend that we need to move down the street and they are in the way…but if they were to get hit by a truck then it would be a different story. If we make this a badge only parade it takes away from some of the tradtion we have built as a community. We need to hold each other responsible…make sure your friends/family are doing the right thing and that goes for Mummers and Non-Mummers. And to the person that says we don’t perform, we do and there have been times we have tried to perform and people wouldn’t move…to the point they have almost been taken out by a back piece. I believe in this tradition we call Mummers…I believe that our community can take this 2 St. parade back to what it was, a good time for our family and friends, and residents of Mummers Row. This is our time to parade for the people that matter, the ones that have stood by us all year, the other clubs that have gone through the same things we have all year….this is OUR PARADE! We do this for us not for the messy foolish outsiders that want to say they came to 2 St. and they were able to drink.
    Congrats to all the 1st Place clubs this year….enjoy it!

    • I agree with Jess… Mummers on 2 St is a community tradition…..friends and family come back to their roots to celebrate the New Year…..the parade on 2 St was a way for the Mummers to say “thank you ” to the freinds and families who supported them the previous year with, back in the day, $2 nights to raise funds, family members sewing costumes, wives and girlfriends who suppoorted their loved ones through countless planning sessions and practices….and at one time, they perfomed again for merchant prizes awarded on 2 St. I surely don;t have any inkling of how to correct the current situation but personal and community responsibility is a good way to begin. I also liked the idea of a court set up at Furness (my junior high) where violators, drunks, instigators, etc are tried and fined, etc.. Perhaps once some concrete actions are set up in response to certain behaviors, people will understand that there will be consequences. It’s been about 10 years since I came back to Philly to see the parade; my experience on 2 St at that time was pretty much as I remebered growing up there…..Let us not run from those who would destroy a most cherished and beloved way to bring in the New Year; ALL bullies back down when confronted!

  29. I have a question for anyone out there. Do the mummers have their own security, or do the Philly police cover that?

    • Hi, Eileen,

      The Mummers do not do their own security on parade day, except for within their club houses. The Philadelphia Police protect the parade route. The Mummers pay the city a fee for city services associated with the parade.

      Steve

  30. Not tolerating bullies and underage drinking is great. I am a respectable visitor to 2st and have been for awhile. I understand and sympathize with the increased number of louts. However, you seriously don’t see the irony in locking down one street for Members Only? After the whole of South Philly has paraded though and turned the rest of the city into a drunken party? Of course what you started to going to come to roost at your doorstep.

  31. hi steve ,i used to be with irish american and now with trilby string band.thanks for another great day.its people like you that make the mummers parade a sucess every year.i have been trying to get a copy of the parade to watch since my family and i were marching in the parade.i called channel 17 and the mummers museum but as of now they have no cds.they tell me a couple and months.my dvr on the tv did not work when i tape it,thanks steve.patty rowley email rowleypatm@aol.com.

    • Hi, Patty, thank you so much for watching. Unfortunately, I know of no legal authority who can provide a copy of the entire parade. The String Band Association and the Fancy Brigade Association are making DVDs of their performances, but they are just getting them done, or may take a few more weeks. PHL17 is exploring whether there is enough interest to make next year’s parade available, but even if that decision is made, it obviously does not help this year. I do not even have a copy of the parade.

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