2016 “Order of Enjoyment!”

IMG_6035The 2016 Order of March for the String Bands in the SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade is set. The bands drew their starting positions tonight in the annual random drawing at the Mummers Museum in South Philadelphia.

Here is the order for January 1, 2016.

1. Trilby
2. Polish American
3. Fralinger
4. Quaker City
5. Avalon
6. Pennsport
7. Uptown
8. Aqua
9. South Philadelphia
10.Greater Kensington
11.Greater Overbrook
13. Hegeman
17. Ferko

2015 String Band Order of Enjoyment

Here’s something to crow about.  The String Band order of March.   2014IMG_20140101_151519_118It’s been a busy few days as members of the Philadelphia Mummers String Bands debate within their clubs how to approach their themes and production costs for the 2015 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade.  They’ve had nearly a week to digest the official Order of March, or Enjoyment as I say.  (See Order below.)  The order was chosen by lot at the Mummers Museum. Traditionally, most bands view going up early in the order as a disadvantage in terms of judging.  The judges work hard to make sure that they are not under-weighting early performers, but the general belief persists among string band members that going early hurts your finishing position.  Most of the results seem to support that belief, but you have to remember that through much of parade history many of the power bands, or bands that finished higher in the previous year, used to have more say as to what position that they marched in. They usually chose the back half of the division.  Also, I found very gratifying in  the 2014 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade the effort in production, rehearsal and parade day performance of bands that went up in the first several positions but looked at doing so as a positive challenge and as a test of professionalism.  Those bands, from Woodland going up first to South Philadelphia marching in 8th position, were outstanding.2014aIMG_20140101_153411_769

So, below is the 2015 Order of Enjoyment.  No themes are public yet.  But, the past week has been full of string band members assessing their chances and trying to figure out how to play the order to their advantage.

  2015 String Band Division Order of March1.  Uptown
2.  Greater Overbrook
3.  Duffy
4.  Durning
5.  Trilby
6.  South Philadelphia
7.  Aqua
8.  Greater Kensington
9.  Fralinger
10. Polish American
11. Broomall
12. Quaker City
13. Woodland
14. Pennsport
15. Avalon
16. Hegemen
17. Ferko

2013 Order of Enjoyment

The String Band Division has selected its Order of March, or as I call it, the Order of Enjoyment, for the 2013 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade. This is a critically important draw as 2012 Champion Woodland String Band plots strategy of how best to defend its title and SugarHouse Casino PHL17 Viewer’s Choice Winner South Philadelphia String Band has had to battle in recent years to make an impression on the judges that will last through the entire round.

 It was a packed house in the Mummers Museum as representatives of each band selected envelopes, each containing one number.  In the draw, both Ferko and Quaker City improved their positions over 2012. Fralinger, which for 2 years has started near the beginning of the division, will in 2013 conclude the performances. Going up the street 1st will be Greater Overbrook String Band.

Here’s how it all sets up for New Year’s Day, 2013!

1. Greater O

2. Durning

3. Trilby

4. Broomall

5. South Philadelphia

6. Hegeman

7. Woodland

8. Aqua

9. Uptown

10. Polish American

11. Avalon

12. Ferko

13. Greater Kensington

14. Quaker City

15. Pennsport

16. Duffy

17. Fralinger

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.

Change in the Parade

Change is a constant, even within a tradition.  Irish American String Band has decided not to march up Broad Street in the 2011 Mummers Parade.  I spoke to Irish American founder John Kates who tells me he thinks it’s best to take a breather and get it right, and that he hopes to reorganize for 2012.  I.A. is one of the youngest bands but its core is composed of veteran Mummers.  John joined Duffy String Band back in 1959 and marched with the legendary Henry Kunzig in the 1960 parade.  John says the one thing all Mummers must remember is that “it is supposed to be about fun and if you forget that, then turn in your ID” and call it a day.  He hopes to bring the fun back over the next year.  While Kelly Marie Mahon took time off from Irish American to take care of some personal matters this year, well before the decision by I.A. not to march,  she could be back as Captain for 2012.  A club deciding not to march happens from time to time.  Over the years some fade away, others return as they were before or come back in a different form, merged or in another division.  All the best to the members of Irish American. 

Below is the new Order of March for the 2011 Parade.

1. Pennsport 2. Fralinger 3. Woodland 4. Broomall 5. South Philadelphia.

6. Durning 7. Greater Kensington 8. Aqua 9. Polish American 10.Trilby

11. Uptown 12 .Hegeman 13. Duffy  14. Quaker City 15. Avalon 16. Greater Overbrook 17. Ferko

String Band Order of March

The official String Band Order of March is carved in stone for January 1, 2011.  Pennsport String Band, which did not parade last year, though many members helped out some other clubs, such as Durning, will head up Broad Street first.  The band is asked to arrive at Broad and Shunk by 9:50 a.m. 

The first full drill will take place at 11:00 a.m. at Broad and Shunk.  Fralinger will arrive by 10 am. and its first full drill will be at 11:10.  Every string band of the 18 marching will leave at 10 minute intervals.  After Broad and Shunk they move up Broad.  The next full drill is at Methodist Hospital.  Music only at Tasker.  Full Drill at Washington, followed by the same at Pine.  There will be a drill, but no props at the Union League.  Then they head to City Hall where the full drill is for the judging and the tv cameras.  The first band is scheduled to arrive at City Hall at 2 p.m.

Here is the Order of March.

1. Pennsport 2. Fralinger 3. Woodland 4. Broomall 5. South Philadelphia.

6. Durning 7. Irish American 8. Greater Kensington 9. Aqua

10. Polish American 11.Trilby 12. Uptown 13 .Hegeman 14. Duffy

 15. Quaker City 16. Avalon 17. Greater Overbrook 18. Ferko