The Fralinger and Quaker City string bands have hogged first place for 14 years, so the Woodland win was a "Cinderella story" that had Mummers setting aside rivalries to celebrate, said George Badey, Mummers Association spokesman and Fralinger member.
Woodland's performance, called "It's a Jungle Out There," featured marchers and musicians dressed as tribal warriors, a giant lion, confetti-spouting elephants, big bananas and a score that included snippets from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Tusk."
Rich Bruch was the Woodland marshal who first received the results. He broke down and cried when told of their win.
"I've been there every year since 1995, and there's not usually a lot of emotion. [The mood] is mostly pissed off that Quaker City or Fralinger won again," said Leo Dignam, the city's parade director. "But everybody was happy about this."
Woodland's 112 members had boarded a bus to return to South Philly when Bruch called club president Tom Loomis with the results.
Loomis stopped the bus and ordered everyone off. They circled around, wondering what was worth standing in the cold rain.
"You did it! You're the champions!" he announced.
"There was just such a roar. They danced in the streets for a half-hour," Dignam said.
Winning was something David Anderson always knew they could do. Anderson has been a Woodland member for 58 years, since he was 3 years old. He, his father and his grandfather - both also named David - are Woodland Hall of Famers. Woodland's clubhouse is named "Anderson Hall" in honor of the family.
"It's like a dream come true," Anderson said yesterday.
At the clubhouse yesterday, members admired their trophy as Loomis eyeballed a wall of photos of past performances.
"We'll hang it there," he pointed, adding: "This year's [photo] will be a lot bigger!"