Parade is a Go-Go!

The 2012 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade is clear to step off Sunday morning, New Year’s Day. There will be a final check of the weather and other conditions at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, but all indicators are green.

The Comics, as usual, will begin the parade from Broad and Washington and head to the new judging/broadcast area at 16th and JFK in Center City, Philadelphia.

Important tv note: The only place to see live coverage of the parade on television anywhere in the world is PHl17 in Philadelphia. There is no other station coverage in any other tv market.

However, for our Mum friends in communities far away, there is a video option via the internet. is planning to stream the parade from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The web site will also have great still photos and other video options.

So if you are in the PHL17 viewing area, tune to PHL17 beginning at 9 a.m. for Breakfast with the Mummers. If you are outside the viewing area, you can get the parade on

The photo in the upper left is of a work of art created by an artist, one of several, on display at Philadelphia City Hall.  There are works on the second floor and mainly at room 116 on the first floor.  The Nutter Administration put together a nice spread of what Mumming is all about and encouraged artists to create works to help tell the story.

“Tony Terrific”

You can call him Tony Terrific, though I know he’ll wince at that. 52-year-old Anthony DiLacqua is a great Mummer and Philadelphian. He’s been a Mummer for 23 years, 21 of them playing saxophone with Greater Kensington String Band. Tony is now Director of Security at SugarHouse Casino in Fishtown. Before that, he served in the Philadelphia Police Department for 29 years. He rose to the rank of Chief Inspector on the force. He joined SugarHouse before they opened and has been a vital part of the early success of the entertainment operation. SugarHouse Casino General Manager Wendy Hamilton says Tony is wonderful with employees and customers. In Wendy’s words, “He’s terrific.” (Thus, my “Tony Terrific.”) Tony Dilacqua had to skip last year’s parade because SugarHouse had just opened but he plans to strut with GK this New Year’s Day, with cell phone in pocket in case he’s needed. But, Tony oversees a large security force, coordinates with the Pennsylvania State Police, who are on site, and with the Philadelphia Police who patrol the neighborhood and the property along Columbus Boulevard. When you’re with Tony you see a guy who’s great with people, pays attention to detail and is very serious about preventing problems. You can see more about him tonight on PHL17 News at Ten.

Jozef & the Amazing Technicolor Mumcoat

The 2012 SugarHouse Mummers Parade nears and pretty much folks know what their doing. Most of the work is finished. There are exceptions and you know who you are. One of the geniuses of the parade is a family. The Jozefowski family, of Golden Sunrise NYA. Mom, Ellie, Dad, Henrik, daughter, Alexandra, and brother, Jozef. Ellie has been parading since she was a little girl. Both she and Alexandra are Penn grads. Alexandra’s gone up the street, too. Henrik is from Poland and although he’s scheduled to be in the Captain’s presentation this year, he usually stays behind the scenes. He’s the builder. Jozef is the one with the imagination. The 22-year-old graduated from Temple in May and is beginning a career in the film industry. In the 2011 parade he won First Prize for his Mozart-inspired theme, “Symphonic Hazzard.” The display of his suit is in the Mummers Museum. This year he’s been working on a “Timekeeper” theme. I got to see it in production and it’s pretty cool. You can get a glimpse, too, tonight at 10pm on PHL17. Happy Mumming!

Firefighter Ed, the Shooting Star

Tonight on PHl17 a report airs at 10pm on 42-year-old Ed Verbitski. I talked with Ed at the station house on Grays Ferry Avenue where Squad 47 is based and also under I-95 where Ed was rehearsing with the Fancy Brigade, Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars. Ed is a Mummer and Philadelphia’s Firefighter of the Year. People are alive today because of Ed and the other men of Squad 47. Squad 47 trains to rescue people in every environment, under any conditon and they’ve done it. I want to thank the Squad for sharing time with me. Ed’s father, his brother, sons and other relatives are also involved with the Stars. As Ed Verbitski said to me, “I have the best of both worlds.”

It’s the most Mummerful time of the Year

The biggest reason I love the Mummers are the people who Mum and one teenager is a perfect example of why.  13-year-old Julia Parmisciano is a smart, upbeat, talented person.  She’s a fan of the Mummers.  Julia is also a heart transplant recipient.  She suffered cardiac arrest last spring while at Epiphany of Our Lord School at 13th and Jackson.  Julia was lucky to survive.  She was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she waited for more than 6 months for a heart transplant operation.  Doctors think she had lived with a weakened heart since contracting  a virus at a very early age.  In late November, the donor heart became available and she underwent the operation.  She came home to South Philadelphia in time for Christmas and to see the preparations for New Year’s Day.  Her mother, Grace, and her whole family have been wonderful in supporting Julia.  Her friends have sprung into action, too.  They have started the Hope for Julia Fund to defray some of the big bills that insurance won’t pay. How you can help is farther below.

Julia made great friends while she was in CHOP.  She plays the guitar really well.  She played with Selena Gomez , and met Ryan Seacrest and Joe Jonas who stopped by CHOP.  Gomez and Jonas autographed her guitar.  But, as cool as all that was, it was Julia’s hospitalized friends and the nurses at CHOP who impressed her the most. Now, Julia wants to be a cardiac nurse when she grows up.

I was at her house when members of several Mummers clubs came by to serenade Julia and boost her spirits.  They came from Quaker City String Band, the Jester’s (Julia’s favorite), South Philly Vikings, Satin Slipper, Avenuers and more.   Quaker City played “When You’re Smilin’.”  Julia had to wear a mask that day, as she will for a little while longer, to prevent infection.  But, no mask could hide her happiness at seeeing Mummers and seeing that so many people care about her.  Julia is glad to be home.

As an aside, I want thank the members of two string bands who in the past week have given me awards. Avalon String Band for induction into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame and for broadcasting the parade, and Quaker City String Band Friday night delivered its Humanitarian Award to me.  Both are extremely kind and reflective of the great hearts of Mummers.

If you can, donate to help Julia’s family, send a check to:

PNC Bank

c/o Hope for Julia

1544 Packer Avenue

Philadelphia, PA   19145

Here Come the Cromptons

Jerry Crompton is a fine sax player and he was a great music director for Avalon String Band. Tough. He was tough. Jerry is one of the most recent inductees into the String Band Hall of Fame.  Son, Jim, has carried on well in his place as Music Director since 2007, while dad still marches. Younger Jerry is also in Avalon and is showing there’s no drop-off in quality with later versions of the Crompton model. And then, of course, there is Jeff, who is formerly of Avalon, and lately of Fralinger. Jeff is Presentation Director of one of the finest bands to walk up the street. But, more importantly, all the Cromptons are prime examples of the quality of talent, the dedication to Mummery and the great families that are the Mummers. They touched many bands,  starting with Aqua.   There’s Polish American, Ferko and more that they were directly with or influenced over the years.  But the biggest connection is Avalon.  It was an honor for me to speak with Jerry and the boys. In this photo the late, “Big Ger”, towers over Jerry and the kids. I talk with the Cromptons Sunday, December 25th, Christmas Day, at 11:30 a.m. on NBC10 at Issue. The program also features the great Mummers Chorus, singing Christmas songs, and I highlight the story of Julia Parmisciano (go Jesters!) and Philadelphia’s Firefighter of the Year, Ed Verbitski, of Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars.  Happy Holidays everyone!  And remember, coverage of the 2012 SugarHouse Casino Mummers parade begins at 9 a.m. New Year’s Day with “Breakfast with the Mummers.”

2012 Order of Enjoyment

As the 2012 Sugar House Mummers Parade prepares to step off on New Year’s Day, the clubs also do so with the order of their appearances on their minds.  It’s a psychological game for some who believe that going too early ensures a lower score from the judges and that going in the last half, especially the end, ensures better scoring.  Some string bands think going about 2-thirds of the way in is perfect. For 20 years of broadcasting the parade I make notes and keep a private scoring sheet, but I really look forward to seeing every club and each performance.  The more you know each Mummer, the more you witness every club planning, rehearsing, serving their neighborhoods, giving time to charity and just trying to enjoy liberty and give folks a good time on New Year’s Day, the more you love every strut.  The Order of Finish is less important to me than the Order of March.  In the end, it’s the people parade that matters.  So here is the Order of Enjoyment.

The Comic Division around 9:45 a.m. steps off at Broad and Washington and heads north to 16th and JFK.  The Goodtimers will lead the Comics, followed by Landi and returning champion, Murray.

The Wench Brigade Division follows with its 8 clubs.  Riverfront leads off, followed by Oregon, O’Malley, Cara Liom, Bryson, Pirates, Saints and Froggy Carr.

The Fancy Division follows with Hog Island leaving Broad and Passyunk about 10:30 a.m.  Golden Sunrise will follow.  Both clubs should be up at 16th and JFK between about 12:30 to 1:30.

The String Band Division hits the street next.  There are 17 bands this year.  Here is their order.

Duffy is first, stepping off from Broad and Shunk around 10 a.m., followed by Fralinger, Broomall, Aqua, South Philadelphia, Polish American, Uptown, Ferko, Quaker City, Avalon, Greater Kensington, Greater Overbrook, Trilby, Pennsport, then Durning, and Hegeman and Woodland round out the 17. 

Inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Fancy Brigade Division wows the crowds in two shows. The first is at Noon. The second is at 5 p.m.  You’ll see a show on PHL17 between 8pm and 10pm. Here’s the FB order. Downtowners, Saturnalians, Avenuers, South Philly Vikings, Golden Crown, Jokers Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars, 2nd Street Shooters, Satin Slipper and Clevemore. 

Go forth and Mummerfy.

It’s Official. Everybody wear a girdle.

The Mummers Parade route is changed and it will, at least mentally, require that the participants get a little thinner at the end of the route.  The annual mid-December meeting between the City of Philadelphia and each of the Mummers Clubs took place Wednesday night at the Mummers Museum.  Deputy Recreation Commissioner Leo Dignam and his team said nearly all of the parade route is unchanged but that there is one significant difference.  Because of the construction that’s beginning at Dilworth Plaza, the parade cannot end at 15th and Market(the west side of City Hall) and there can be no judging there.  Now, and perhaps for 3 parades, the “A” stand Mummers will proceed west around City Hall, but instead of stopping at 15th and Market and performing there, they will continue north to JFK Boulevard, turn left on JFK and proceed to 16th where the judges and the broadcast booth and fans in stands will be awaiting them. There will be no stands at 15th and Market.  The change presents several new challenges to participants, but the main two are: 1. It’s a different performing area.  2.  The exit is on to 16th Street but as of now the exit space is perhaps 28 feet wide, much narrower than in the past. Thus, my good natured girdle headline.  This will pose a challenge for moving some props and for larger groups, such as the biggest wench brigades, but these are logistical matters and for the entertainers that are the Mummers, the adjustment will be made.  The City thought about using 15th and JFK but there is actually a hump in that intersection that would make performing difficult.

By the way, for the fans all other performance areas remain unchanged. There is a participant and fan-friendly change involving where the Wench Brigade Division clubs enter Broad Street.  They are back on Broad!  Recently, they had been joining Broad Street at Washington Avenue, but now they are allowed to begin deep in South Philadelphia closer to Snyder.  The indoor show goes on with the Fancy Brigade Division at Noon and 5 inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

More tomorrow on the Order of March.