The Philadelphia Mummers Parade might a Lively, Historic method for Couples to Ring in the brand new season Since 1901

The brief variation: like other customs for the ancient town of Philadelphia, the Mummers Parade is amongst the longest-running events in the usa. Although the parade formally started in 1901, the 12 months’s Day heritage upon which it’s based begun a long time before. Each year, the parade is a show-stopping event featuring over 10,000 marchers, flashy halloween costumes, one-of-a-kind music numbers, and almost 1 million attendees. Players policy for the parade all through the year, creating brand-new themes, outfits, and designs to create each version unique.

On new-year’s Day 2020, Steve Coper will commemorate their 50th 12 months marching inside old Philadelphia Mummers Parade. As he was mixed up in occasion for almost half a century, he had been not initial member of their household to participate in.

“My uncle John got me started. He had been also a mummer inside the String Band, in which he motivated my mama to signal me personally upwards for music lessons thus I could get involved, too,” the guy informed all of us.

The term “mummer” derives from the German phrase meaning “masquerade,” which had been a component of a heritage during 12 days of xmas. Men and women dressed in costumes and checked out their unique next-door neighbors’ residences in disguise. As soon as internally, masqueraders — or mummers — would do skits, inform laughs, or sing songs. The neighbors would then imagine their unique identities and offer all of them food.

Steve traces current Mummers Parade custom back to the seventeenth century when Swedish immigrants delivered it to Philadelphia. They labeled as it 2nd Day Christmas time, and celebrated with noisy reveling that included costumes, noisemakers, and even pistols.

“it had been revelers regarding the street, heading from neighbor to neighbor, wanting all of them delighted vacation trips,” he mentioned. “The Old-World heritage came to Philly given that it ended up being this type of an ethnic melting cooking pot, causing all of these immigrants stumbled on the metropolis and blended their Swedish, English, Dutch, German, Irish Italian, and African countries.”

The Mummers Parade has always fostered a feeling of link and camaraderie. Years of couples and people have actually attended the event, celebrating a brand new start on understanding frequently Philadelphia’s coldest day of the season. While many couples and families attend case, some also invest in marching collectively — which takes time and effort and fuel.

That sense of activity and society link lives on in today’s form of the Mummers Parade, letting revelers — and people closest to them — to ring in the new 12 months with a fun-filled experience.

New Themes Give the occasion a brand new Feel Every Year

Though the mummer custom has been in existence for years and years, the official Philadelphia Mummers Parade wasn’t sanctioned of the area until 1901, if it made a decision to improve event less dangerous and much more inclusive.

“the town wished to have it managed because revelers had been shooting firearms floating around,” Steve stated. “So, Philly made a decision to make day a lot more inclusive and family-friendly.”

Even though the procession transforms 120 in 2020, organizers and marchers ensure that it it is new yearly by picking different themes, halloween costumes, and shows. Rather than cobbling with each other projects prior to new-year’s Eve, the organizers establish some ideas, increase resources, and practice all year round.

Marchers tend to be split into five divisions: the flamboyant unit, the Comic division, the Wench Brigade, the Fancy Brigade, additionally the String Band — in fact it is Steve’s unit. Since labels suggest, each group provides a certain focus. For example, the Comic unit aims to highlight recent activities to make men and women make fun of as the String Band plays and exercises to songs.

Each unit provides several teams. When you look at the String Band division by yourself, 16 rings vie to win ideal overall performance of the year.

“All the groups in our division are friendly, but the audience is increasingly aggressive,” Steve stated.

Each group competes to attract the eye with the almost one million visitors by distinguishing on their own through costumes and activities and shaking circumstances up from years previous.

“the majority of the motifs tend to be figure motifs, like clowns or pirates, but sometimes you’ll see themes being much more avant-garde, like showing halloween costumes and playing opera from the baroque period or something like that such as that,” Steve stated.

For-instance, one party when you look at the Comic Division provides clothed like Minions from movie “Despicable myself,” while an organization from the nice Brigade dressed up as the same Queens of minds for starters 12 months’s overall performance.

The Theatrical Performances Transform the Parade Into a Mini Broadway Show

Many parades feature drifts with local government or company representatives waving while they go, although Mummers Parade concentrates on creating a lot more vibrant shows, featuring performers, performers, skits, and laughs.

“We play a musical regimen, we are in lavish outfits, therefore we have actually props,” Steve mentioned. “its a beginner, mini-Broadway program on the street.”

For the 2019 parade, a group outfitted as law enforcement officers in frilly blue tops and face paint danced to The Sugarhill Gang’s hit, “join It.” Another class wearing grayscale strolled across the street waving parasols as clowns putting on bedazzled costumes with feathers captivated the crowd.

“We compete like teams on ultra Bowl Sunday because we are all performers and we enjoy carrying out when it comes to crowds,” Steve said.

Definitely, not all place over the procession path has nearly as good a vantage point where to view these shows. Each party offers the full performance for judging at City Hall, but visit minimum 4 times along side parade route. Very, buying judges remain tickets or installing very early at the selected performance areas is the better choice for couples wanting to get the most out of the experience.

The four performance areas are at 15th and industry roads (a judging section), wide and Sansom Streets (for the String rings), wide and Pine Streets (your Fancy, Comic, Wenches, and Fancy Brigades division), and wide and Carpenter roadways (for Fancy, Wenches, Comics, String Bands and Fancy Brigades).

If you’re unable to ensure it is out to the parade because you live out of town — or partied a little too hard on new-year’s Eve — you could view the alive broadcast on television or flow it on the internet. You can rest assured that each and every season’s Mummer Parade are completely various and exciting.

“The parade is quite interesting and distinctive. There’s really no various other place in the world where you can see this sort of procession,” Steve mentioned.

The Mummers Parade continues as a Philadelphia custom consistently to Come

Around worldwide, German and Swedish societies enjoy the wintertime solstice and mummer practices across the new year. Philadelphia, motivated by that history, is promoting a tradition all its very own.

“It is one of the largest folk countries in Philadelphia,” Steve said.

The procession has additionally developed over time. Steve proposed browsing Mummers Museum in Southern Philadelphia observe how the halloween costumes and props that mummers made use of over the years have actually changed.

For any nearly 10,000 marchers just who participate in the procession every year, this long-standing tradition stays a work of love. There is no prize cash, just bragging legal rights. During the season between parades, each team increases funds because of its lavish costumes, props, and floats to generate a remarkable occasion. They even choose officers and produce committees to produce themes that will be noticed and please the group.

“We fork out a lot period building our program making it fun and pleasing to the people. You want to ensure that the crowd really enters it.” — Steve Coper, longtime Mummers Parade String Band associate

Though new-year’s time often is the coldest day’s the entire year in Pennsylvania, the parade however creates a lively and attached environment that’s excellent for a romantic date — or celebrating with all the entire family.

Per Steve, all the long-lasting planning and exercise in order to make each procession important provides one key objective.

“We spend a lot of time developing our tv series to really make it fun and attractive to the people,” the guy mentioned. “we wish to ensure that the audience really enters it.”

In 2020, the Mummers Parade would be pulling-out all of the prevents because of its old anniversary. Currently surpassing objectives, the parade will certainly continue to be revolutionary for a long time thanks to the power associated with individuals and visitors.

“we are satisfied to help keep this heritage lively,” Steve informed all of us.

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Matt is the lucky guy that gets to lead a team of passionate placemakers who work every day to make downtown San Antonio more beautiful, playful, prosperous, and welcoming. Since starting his career as an attorney, Matt accumulated 25+ years’ worth of experience in the private sector by founding play and creative companies; consulting for start-ups and Fortune 500s in strategy, innovation, and leadership; and serving as president and C-level executive for Scholastic, Klutz and LeapFrog, among others. Directly prior to moving to San Antonio, he was the Economic Development Director and Interim Land Use Director for Santa Fe, NM.  He and his daughter have visited 15 state capitals on their way to all 50! 

Elizabeth Burt


Liz is a passionate underutilized space evangelist known for collaboration matchmaking + play based troublemaking (snow, pumpkins, and Parisian mimes included). She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy studying Public Administration (#BirdsUp)! More recently, she oversaw the award winning Activate Houston Street Initiative, a placemaking action plan to reinvigorate the historic pedestrian corridor in the heart of Downtown, which is recognized as a Best Practice in Public Space Management by the International Downtown Association, for which she is also a proud Emerging Leader Fellow.


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Connie Garza


Connie is a native San Antonian with roots planted deeply on San Antonio’s Southside. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Passionate about building strong communities, Connie loves acting as a connector to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and people to help each other reach their goals and work together. She works inbetween the Cultural Placemaking team and the Mainstreet Economic Development team, bringing vibrancy and support to urban core businesses to make downtown the place to be. When not at work, you can usually find her at the local plant nursery buying another plant, exploring new cafes/breweries, and spending time with family.

Laura Aldrich


Laura (She/Her) has a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin where she fostered a deep love for communication, critical theory, & experiential spaces. Her heart lies in community, communication, & creative spaces for connection & collaboration.

She’s found much of her life’s direction in sharing her love for fitness & yoga alongside her deeply lived passion for social equity & women’s equality.

Laura has years of experience in developing & carrying out creative, strategic project management, marketing & membership-based sales as well as large-scale events & leadership training.

Outside of work she can often be found biking downtown with friends, adventuring with her sweet pup on the Greenway & casually perusing the cheese aisle at Central Market. She finds simple pleasures in unexpected live music, mochi, freshly bought pairs of matching socks & toppling the patriarchy.

Priscilla Lopez


Priscilla or “P.Lo” as her teammates affectionately call her, has 20 years of corporate administrative experience. Priscilla attended The University of San Antonio with a focus on Business Administration. In her role as office “fixer,” she handles everything from communications and relationship management to IT sleuthing. On weekends you can find her enjoying a Truly poolside. She lives the vegan lifestyle and is  a proud member of the Peleton community.

Jacqueline Lucio


Jacque is a longtime downtowner with a deep passion for community service. She oversees Centro’s Clean & Safe and Homeless Outreach services, which aim to create a more beautiful, welcoming, inclusive, and hospitable downtown. For nearly two decades, Jacque has lived in downtown San Antonio and has been actively involved in the transformation of the urban core. Through her work with nonprofits, local government, and news media, she’s continually focused on championing more sustainable, diverse, and equitable communities. Jacque has led efforts to support asylum seekers, served as communications director for City Council District 5, and served in public affairs role for Clear Channel Outdoor San Antonio. Jacque studied Mass Communications and Mexican-American Studies at UTSA.

Matt Sirgo


Matt graduated from Texas Tech University in 2016 with a Dual Major in Media Strategies and Honors Arts & Letters with a minor in Italian (Benvenuto a tutti!). Matt oversees the marketing, public relations, and digital content for Centro. After sharing the story of Downtown San Antonio on digital channels, he enjoys creating TikToks about LGBTQ+ media. His mug graces a Fiesta Mural on the St. Mary’s Strip just north of Downtown. You can’t miss it. 

Andi Rodriguez


Andi is a long-time urban champion and leads Centro ‘people projects which tell our stories and bring us joy, such as Centro’s Art Everywhere and Zona Cultural. Serving on the Leadership Council of Urban Land Institute, she is a former city Planning Commissioner, Founding Chair of the Hemisfair Conservancy, Co-founder of Power of Preservation/PROM, former Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and immediate past Chair of Leadership San Antonio. Andi considers herself a servant leader; she has an MS in Architecture/Urban Planning, and enjoys advocating for the unifying power of art, history, and public space.

Jakob Villareal


Currently studying for a B.A. in English at A&M San Antonio and Majoring in Writing & Rhetoric, Jakob is a key player in securing additional funding for Centro’s many projects and initiatives. Jakob acts as a matchmaking service for Centro’s projects and Initiatives. Using his intimate knowledge of our goals and ideals, he seeks to find the perfect match of project and potential funding organization. When he’s not busy fundraising Jakob also fills the roll of Game Master, host the team’s various gettogethers and keeping the party going with games galore. He spends his free time painting miniatures, and is an avid Dungeons and Dragons & Table Top RPG enthusiast.

JanIe Garza


Janie is a native of Corpus Christi, TX and has made San Antonio her home since 2012. Her 15+ years’ experience allows her to serve a broad range of functions that allow the organization to operate efficiently, including, accounts receivable/payable, record management, information technology, office management, and assisting with human resources. Outside of the office she enjoys spending time with her family, visiting local art museums, and enjoying a German beer in Southtown.

Michael Cirlos


Michael began his studies and volunteer work at Webster University Thailand with a focus on international relations and Buddhism. After returning to San Antonio and graduating from UTSA, Michael began photographing and telling the stories of people in Downtown San Antonio to help connect and increase awareness of our vibrant urban culture. Michael’s work has appeared in several news media organizations, and has produced digital content for small- and large-scale marketing campaigns for Red Bull, COSA Department of Arts and Culture, World Heritage Office, National Park Service, and others. Michael is a former Pecha Kucha San Antonio Speaker, best-selling author at Trinity University Press, entrepreneur, and adventurer.

Sarah Esserlieu


Sarah is a passionate urbanist who has spent the majority of her career on downtown revitalization efforts. Downtown is the best part of any city where you can find the finest history, culture, life, and beauty. Sarah has a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of California, San DiegoSarah enjoys visiting small local businesses, enjoying foodie culture, cooking, hiking, and visiting the cities of the world. 



Kandice is a Sunnyvale, CA native and has made San Antonio her home since 2014She graduated from University of Argosy in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and continued to complete her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Phoenix 2020. She has worked in downtown San Antonio for years, bringing 15+ years of accounting experience to the organization and has been tasked with promoting and developing the city’s urban core. When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, managing her family’s businesses, and enjoys cooking and baking.  

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs 


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