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First New Fancy Brigade In 12 Years Joins Mummers Parade

Fancy Brigades perform inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. (Credit: file photo)

Fancy Brigades perform inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. (Credit: file photo)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Mummers will announce details of this year’s parade at a news conference, today. This New Years Day will see the addition of the first new Fancy Brigade in more than a decade.

The Fancy Brigades are the folks who strut indoors, at the Convention Center, with building-size floats and recorded music timed to compliment their choreography. It’s an arduous, expensive undertaking, so for the past dozen years, while some brigades have called it quits, no new group has signed on — until this year.

“It’s in our blood. We’ve been doing this for a long time, a lot of us,” says Mike Otto, the founder of the Spartans, a group of about 80, of which more than 60 will be “in suit,” as they say.

Otto says the members — some from various other brigades, some who never marched before — wanted to try something new and things have worked out.

They already have a clubhouse right on 2 Street, “right down in the heart of Mummerville.”

On New Year’s Day, they’ll be the first to perform, “That’s one of the rules: new fancy brigade must go up first.”

They’re using a Native American theme, “bows and arrows and spears and a lot of feathers — of course there are.”

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