Getting Closer…

There are a few signposts along the road to New Year’s Day that tell you that you’re getting closer to the Mummers Parade.  Some of them include, “Hey, that prop needs more wood,” and “We actually are beginning to sound good.”  There are other signs such as the kids Christmas parties, Kazoo/Hat Day and the Mummers Mass.  The annual Mass at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church at 5th and Girard is this Sunday, the 19th, at 9 a.m.  That’s when the Mummers procession is scheduled to begin.  Msgr. George is much appreciated for his support of the Mummers.  String Bands and Fancy Brigades rehearse later in the morning in halls, school gyms, in warehouses and under I-95.  The annual Hat Day/Kazoo Day event, celebrated in various fashion at clubhouses, picks up steam in the afternoon.  Some of these are family events. Others, less so.  Weather permitting, a serenade takes place along Mummers Row.  Over the last couple of weeks, many of the clubs have held Christmas parties for children of club members and some more will take place this weekend. I stopped by two last week. Avalon String Band and Jokers Fancy Brigade gave up their clubhouses to the kids.  There was a live animal show courtesy of the Philadelphia Zoo at Avalon and there was a great magician, Jimmy McGinty, at Jokers.  Even with all the pressure that’s intensifying right now, with last minute designs, changes in music, adjustments to props, working with the costumes, and in some Captain’s cases, still waiting to see that full costume in action, this is a time that you see Mummers as a family tradition.  Generations meet and drill together. Adults take time to give the kids an afternoon to rule the clubhouse. It’s all coming together. Christmas parties for the children, Kazoo Day, walking down the street or driving under I-95 and seeing everyone at work on their presentations, taking time to honor old friends, Palma Lucas sewing like no one else can on Greenwich Street, Hog Island and Golden Sunrise talking smack with each other, and Murray Comic Club methodically planning to try to break yet another record.  These are just many of the signs not of winter, but of a new beginning, a New Year in Philadelphia, getting closer.

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