Everything you might want to know about the 112th Mummers Parade

Posted: December 30, 2011

The 112th Mummers Parade, the nation's oldest continuous folk event, with up to 10,000 participants, will begin at 9:45 a.m. Sunday near Broad Street and Washington Avenue. It will showcase four divisions: the Comics, Fancies, Fancy Brigades, and String Bands.

City officials say they worked with Mummers officials on improvements to a new judging location. The end of the route will be altered to accommodate continuing renovations to City Hall's Dilworth Plaza, pushing the parade judging area between 15th and 16th Street on John F. Kennedy Boulevard, across from the Fairmount Park Welcome Center at JFK Plaza.

Some changes in the judging area are a new performance and viewing area, a large-screen TV, and more fan-friendly bleacher seating to make a more pleasant viewing experience, Mummers Parade director Leo Dignam said in a news release. He added that there were now three comic clubs, two fancy division units, 17 string bands, 10 fancy brigades, and eight Wench Brigades in the Mummers Parade lineup.

The parade also promises to be more fan-accessible, with the return of the Pine Street performance area and bleachers, as well as other amenities, including portable bathrooms, at all six officially designated Mummers performance areas, the city has announced. They are free and located along the parade route on Broad Street near Shunk, Wolf, Washington, Pine, and Sansom Streets.

The best view could be from the Grand Stand entertainment zone near City Hall on JFK Boulevard, between 15th and 16th Streets. Tickets for the City Hall bleachers are $19 (for all ages), offsetting the expense of operating the performance zones.

The extravagant showcase of talent and feathery showmanship kicks off with the Comics Division (Broad Street and Washington Avenue), followed by the Fancy Division (at 10:30 a.m. at Broad Street and Passyunk Avenue); the String Bands (at 10 a.m. at Broad and Shunk Streets) and the Fancy Brigades (at 12:40 p.m. at Broad Street and Oregon Avenue).

The Fancy Brigades are scheduled to march on Broad Street, from Oregon to Washington Avenue, and will be judged at one of their indoor shows (rain or shine), while the remaining three Mummers divisions will end their competitive performances at the City Hall judging area in Center City.

New this year is Fancy Folks: Art and Mummery, a judged competition and art exhibit coordinated by the city's Art in City Hall program featuring the work of artists, designers, and photographers in the region. Costumes, drawings, creative instruments, and work in all media that portray a festive, celebratory spirit are prominently showcased. It highlights the accessibility of folk art as a creative expression through an introduction to Mummery, its cultural history, and an exhibit about the design process with artifacts by longtime Mummers designer Robert Finnegan.

A focal point of the initiative is a Mummers Parade exhibit open to the public in the Arts, Culture and Creative Economy gallery at City Hall in Room 116.

Route: North on Broad Street to JFK Plaza (LOVE Park), 16th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

Judging: The main judging stand for the String Bands, Comics and Fancies will be on JFK Boulevard, between 15th and 16th Streets. Additional judging will take place along the parade route for the Comics and Fancies. Twelve judges will score the String Bands, while six judges will rate the Fancy units, and nine will score the Comic units.

The Fancy Brigades will be judged by six judges at the 14th annual Fancy Brigade Finale in the Convention Center, 1001 Arch St., beginning at 5 p.m.

Information headquarters: Department of Recreation, One Parkway, 1515 Arch St., 10th Floor, 215-683-3691 or 683-3595.

Command Center: One Parkway Building, 215-683-3691.

Weather conditions: In case of inclement weather, a marching decision will be made by 4:30 a.m. Sunday with the decision to be broadcast on KYW-AM (1060).

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