Sats Celebrate Half a Century

20171111_201610Saturnalian New Years Association celebrated 50 years in Mummery this weekend in a fun and beautiful gathering at SugarHouse Casino.  It was extraordinary going through the decades with images of the past performances and remarks by former captains like John Griffith, Dave Moscinski and John Zakrewski, and current captain, Jack Hatty, Jr. One fun fact among many with Saturnalian: It took first prize in its very first parade in the late 1960’s.  The Sats honored the living and departed members of the club and also celebrated the contributions of women members to the Fancy Brigade.20171111_214651 Josephine Thompson, a 12 year member of the Sats, led that recognition.  I am also grateful to the club for its welcoming of me to the event.  20171112_210822Saturnalian has a successful history and is again a brigade on the rise.  Here’s to the Richie Ski and all the gang going from last year’s “Gangs of New York” performance at the Pennsylvania Convention Center to a fun circus theme in the works this coming New Year’s Day.  It will be a great night for the club from 1811 S. 2nd Street.

Happy Anniversary Murray Comic Club

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The Murray Comic Club celebrates its 80th anniversary tonight and its 18th 1st Prize in a row with a gala at SugarHouse Casino.  500 attendees are here, including past presidents and officers of other clubs. And, of course, big cheers to President Rich Porco and his daughter, Jessica, long time leaders of Murray and standard bearers of Mummery.  As Rich said tonight, “We’re not a club, we’re a family.”

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Murray has been a steady supporter of Easter Seals, our Armed Forces overseas and Philabundance. On New Year’s Day and throughout the year, Murray is number one. Congratulations and thank you, Murray Comic Club.

Talent is in the House

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And I mean on the stage. The Neumann Goretti High School Talent Show is underway in South Philadelphia. Congratulations to all the students.
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The row of judges are busy including my SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade partner Alicia Vitarelli of 6ABC and PHL17 News at Ten. Thanks to Father Olson and Bruce Robinson for being such good hosts.

Fancy Brigade Banquet 2016

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Members of the Shooters styling on the deck at SugarHouse Casino tonight at the annual Fancy Brigade Association Banquet in Philadelphia.

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It’s a night to honor all the men, women and children who every New Year’s Day entertain the city with the Mummers tradition inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and throughout the year are there for family, neighborhood and country.

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Tonight is a night to remember the late FB Association President and former Captain of the Downtowners, Jim Julia.

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It’s a night to honor and welcome Tommy Knight, Jr.,  into the Hall of Fame.

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Among those here, Mary and Tom Loomis, Jessica and Rich Porco, Palma and John Lucas,

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and other representatives of other Mummers Divisions. Other strong supporters,

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including Vince and Norma Giannini of PHL17, joined the Brigades in this massive celebration at the new SugarHouse.

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Congratulations to Champions Golden Crown and all the clubs. A great night for a great tradition.

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The People Have Spoken

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Congratulations to Woodland String Band and to Bill McIntyre’s Shooting Stars, winners of the 2016 SugarHouse Casino Viewer’s Choice Awards for their performances on New Years Day in the Mummers Parade. 

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Mummers from all Divisions gathered tonight at the new conference and event facility at SugarHouse Casino for the annual revelation. A pleasant time was guaranteed for all.

Let’s Strut

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Happy New Year! Sitting in the broadcast booth anticipating the parade! Happy 2016. Long live the Philadelphia tradition! Have fun.

Until We Meet Again, Jim.

Jim3IMG_20151119_091408663Jim Julia, Sr., has been laid to rest. Friends, colleagues and admirers have been spending today remembering Jim and, with his family, truly mourning the passing of a life taken too soon.  In a highly emotional moment, members of the Downtowners Fancy Brigade lined the center aisle of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in South Philadelphia at the end of the funeral Mass.  The closed casket bearing Jim was led down the aisle and as it passed, members reached out and touched the coffin in one final goodbye. The words and music at the service had struck every right chord in honoring Jim for his compassion, dedication and leadership.  The funeral procession then traveled by vehicle past the Downtowners clubhouse and up around the Mummers Museum, and then back down 2nd Street in one last parade.TwoMG_20151119_091523856

Thousands of people tried to say goodbye today. But, if you really need to prove the wonderful life of James J. Julia, Sr., you need to look no farther than his family.  Jim Julia, Jr., eloquently addressed us all near the end of the Mass.  His sister Meghan stood beside him, as he spoke of his father’s life, and of his father, a kid from Tree Street, losing his mother at an early age. He recalled Jim’s love of Mummery and of tradition, and Jim’s life lessons on family.  The words were more evidence of Jim, Sr.’s, love for his family and they for him.  This sudden loss is deeply painful for them.  But, you can also tell that they are trying to ask themselves, “What would Jim do now?” Most beautifully real of all is Debby, Jim’s Sr.’s, wife.  The clear love she has for her husband, the patience and grace with which she greeted each of us and the honesty with which she mourns are as moving and meaningful as anything I have witnessed.

Jim Julia has been laid to rest. I have a feeling part of him is glad we paid some attention to him.  He may even be smiling and wondering what took us so long.  But, then he’ll take a sip of coffee and tell us to move on. I imagine he’d say that if we do want to honor him, then we should remember him by doing the right thing for tradition, for family and for the people of Tree Street.JimOneIMG_20151119_091457589.jpgThank you to Debby, Meghan and Jim, Jr. and to all in his family for sharing Jim Julia, Sr.    And to Jim.  Thank you, sir.  Goodbye.