CASAInterviewed Lori Morris and Ernestine Williams of CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties today.  There are CASA chapters throughout the nation.  More than 900.  They are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, helping find safe and permanent homes and situations for kids.

They could use some volunteers. They provide the training.

Check out In Focus on February 8th at 6:30 a.m. or go to their web sites, such as for more info.

Tonight’s the Night

In the words of that sage, Rod Stewart, Tonight’s the Night.  The 2014 SugarHouse Casino Viewer’s Choice Awards!  The announcement of the best string band and the best fancy brigade on New Year’s Day in the eyes and ears of the viewers will take place this evening at SugarHouse. Festivities begin in the 6 o’clock hour.  Quaker City String Band is providing musical entertainment.  The 2 winning clubs will each receive a trophy and $1,000 from SugarHouse.  In addition, there will be 3 raffle drawings each awarding $1,000. All Mummers mother clubs are invited to take part in those 3 raffles but you need to be there. Check in when you arrive at The Refinery to let them know that your club, such as Murray, or Greater Kensington, is there.

Mummers Alert: Viewer’s Choice Awards this Thursday night

Neither snow, nor rain, nor subfreezing cold shall prevent the celebration of The People’s Voice!  The 2014 SugarHouse Casino Viewer’s Choice Awards will be announced Thursday evening, January 23rd, between 6pm and 8pm at SugarHouse.  It’s also a chance for other clubs to win money. Please read the Mummerific release from SugarHouse below.


PHL17 to Name Fancy Brigade and String Band Club Winners of the Popular Vote

PHILADELPHIA — Jan. 21, 2014 — The Mummers are still strutting strong at SugarHouse Casino, where PHL17 will announce the winners of the 2014 Viewers’ Choice competition on Thursday, Jan. 23.

SugarHouse has been the title sponsor of the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade for the past three years and will continue to support Philadelphia’s Mummers through 2016. As part of this community partnership, Philly’s casino also hosts various Mummers clubs throughout the year for events in its Refinery restaurant and bar—including the awards, which will be held from 6—8 p.m.

Starting on Jan. 1, voters could pick their favorite String Band and Fancy Brigade on—and thousands of votes were submitted. The winners of the popular vote will be announced at the celebration event, and each will take home a trophy. And as a bonus, the winners this year will each receive a $1,000 prize from SugarHouse.

New for 2014, Philly’s casino is also giving away $1,000 prizes to three other ‘mother’ clubs in attendance. To be eligible, a club must have at least one representative present at the event, and should provide the name of their mother club upon check-in. At the end of the awards portion, SugarHouse will randomly select the winning mother clubs.

“It’s always exciting to see who will win the Viewers’ Choice vote each year because all of the clubs put in so much hard work to give Philly a spectacular parade,” Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino, said. “That’s why we’re looking forward to upping the ante this year, so that three other clubs have a shot at getting some added funding for their sets, suits and props for New Year’s 2015.”

Mummers and their families will also be treated to complimentary appetizers at The Refinery, and Mummers string bands will be providing the musical entertainment.

“We had historic ratings for the 2014 parade on PHL17, which led to a high volume of votes for the Viewers’ Choice awards this year,” said Vince Giannini, general manager of PHL17. “Along with the awards handed out by the judges on New Year’s Day, our online poll gives those at home a chance to pick their favorite clubs for an added competitive element.”

To learn more about the SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade, please visit


SugarHouse, which opened in September 2010 as Philly’s casino, features 1,602 slots, up to 56 table games, fun and unique dining options, riverfront views, and free on-site parking. The casino employs approximately 1,100 people, and for three consecutive years has been voted a “Best Place to Work” in the Philadelphia Business Journal and a “Top Workplace” in the Philadelphia Inquirer for two years. For more information, visit

WPHL-TV, known as PHL17, has been broadcasting the annual Mummers Parade – a Philadelphia tradition for more than 100 years – on New Year’s Day since 1993. Each year the parade draws a crowd of thousands in Philadelphia, while Philadelphia’s PHL17 achieves some of its highest ratings of the year.

The Mummers Parade is the longest-running New Year’s Day tradition in the country. Its roots date back to the late 1600s in Philadelphia, and the first officially sanctioned parade by the city was in 1901. The parade features complex, custom costumes, music, and renowned pageantry with more than 10,000 participants.

2014 Viewers Choice Finalists!

MUMMERS_ROWThe 2014 SugarHouse Casino Viewer’s Choice Awards will be announced a week from tonight, on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at SugarHouse Casino!  The 2 winning clubs will each get a $1,000 prize.

And, in addition, every Mummers “Mother” Club present that night has an opportunity to win one of several $1,000 raffle prizes!  Details coming on Monday. But, a heads up. To win the raffle, you have to be there Thursday night. Plan for 6pm arrival. More details on Monday.

For now, congratulations to the 5 Finalists in the String Band Division and the 5 Finalists in the Fancy Brigade Division, as determined by the Viewers. The 5 in the Fancy Brigade Division, are, in alphabetical order:

Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars


Golden Crown

South Philly Vikings


And the 5 String Band Finalists, in alphabetical order, are:



Polish American

Quaker City

South Philadelphia

Goodbye Joe Trinacria

2002Joe Trinacria, one of the legendary bells players of Mummery, has passed away at age 81. My condolences to Gloria, and to Patricia, Robert and James and all of Mr. Trinacria’s family.

I spoke with Joe just a few days before the 2014 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade.  He had been battling a health problem for a long time, but was looking forward to playing the bells for Greater Kensington String Band.  He made it.  With the help of the band, Joe took part in his 51st parade.

Over the years, Joe Trinacria would strut with Liberty Clowns, then Durning, Aqua, Joseph A. Ferko, Harrowgate, Uptown, Woodland, and most recently, with Greater Kensington String Band.

A viewing takes place this evening from 7pm to 9pm at the Hoffman Funeral Home, 1770 Brown Avenue, in Bensalem, PA.  I believe there’ll be a brief viewing tomorrow morning at Hoffman before the funeral mass which is Tuesday morning at 10 at the Church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Joe always considered the glockenspiel to be the signature sound of the string bands.  He told me, “When people heard the bells, they knew a string band was coming.”

Well, here’s a heads up St. Peter.  If tomorrow morning, you hear some bells, get ready, sir.   Joe’s comin’ round the corner.

So this is how Champions keep winning…

I think we all like something when it is done with love, with passion.  Add artistry and combine all that with Mummery, and then you’ve got everything.  Harry Brown, Jr., of Quaker City String Band sent me this photo below and I just think it is beautiful.

QCSBcreen shot 2014-01-08 at 5.42.44 PMIt’s a display created by 4th grader Justin Figueroa at Parkway Elementary School in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Justin is a junior member of QCSB. However, after this evidence, I think Justin is ready to be on a parade planning committee.

Congratulations to his dad, Karl, a member of the 1st Prize winning String Band of the 2014 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade.  Very nice, Justin.

As Harry Brown wrote to me, “It’s a good sign when the next generation is starting to take over.”

Out of the Spotlight, for now…

2014-aqua-string-band-0050Aqua String Band Captain Ron Iannacone has told me today that he is stepping down as Captain but hopes one day to return to that role.  He will remain active with the string band as an advisor, mentor and friend.  The band will make a decision about its next Captain later in the month.

Ron’s decision is influenced mainly by a grueling professional work schedule that increasingly  has involved travel.  This is something that casual Mummers watchers sometimes do not recognize about Mummers.  Mummery is a hobby and yes, a way of life, but it is demanding.  Ron has managed to work and still devote countless hours to Mummery for a long time.  He’s been with Aqua since 1991. He first led Aqua up Broad Street as Captain on a horn-freezing January of 2009. It was the start of the renaissance of Aqua.

2014-aqua-string-band-0859Ron Iannacone is passionate about Mummery, about String Bands, and especially his Aqua String Band.  You can tell that he thoroughly enjoyed being Captain. He has always lived the role as a leader on the street and behind the scenes.  He knows the importance of the parade watcher.  He loves that interaction.  I believe that as much as he realizes that stepping down was a necessary decision, it was still a very difficult one to make.  Here is part of what he wrote to me today.

“There are no words to describe my appreciation to all of the individuals who have … supported me over the past 6 years as Captain.  You pushed me to be my best, and to give you all that I could.  Aqua has accomplished amazing things in a short time.  We turned a 15th place band into a contender, we turned low membership into “oh my god we’re gonna need a bigger club!”, we went from a few performances a year to over 200 in 6 years.  And the best part: The future is even brighter, the opportunities even better.”

Thank you, Ron Iannacone, Captain of Aqua String Band.

To The Winners!

The 2014 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade has concluded, launching a New Year in the fun, family, and freedom style of Philadelphia Mummery. I believe the parade makes everyone a winner. But here is the official list of finishers in the major categories.

String Bands: 1st prize goes to Quaker City. Hegeman finishes 2nd. South Philadelphia with its Pirate theme, 3rd. They are followed by Woodland 4th. Fralinger 5th. Ferko 6th. Avalon 7th. Polish American 8th. Aqua 9th. Uptown is 10th. Next are Pennsport, Duffy, Greater Kensington, Broomall, Greater Overbrook, Durning and Trilby.

Hegeman Captain John Baron finishes 1st among captains, followed by Ferko’s Anthony Celenza and Jimmy Good of Quaker. Denny Palandro is 4 and Nick Magenta 5.

Murray wins the comics again as does Captain Dennis Pellegrino. Murray’s Trama NYB wins 1st prize comic brigade.

The Fancy prize goes to Golden Sunrise, but the Fancy 1st prize Captain is Hog Island’s Kenny Medeiros with his Greatest Show on Earth theme. Jacky BAMBAM wins 1st again in Handsome Costume for Golden Sunrise.

1st prize Wench Brigades goes to Oregon. The Pirates are 2 and Bryson 3. Pirates Captain George Stewart wins 1st prize wench brigades captain.

Fancy Brigade 1st goes to Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars, with its Captain, Michael Adams, also taking 1st Prize. The Jokers and Downtowers finished 2nd and 3rd.