Mummers’ Fancy Brigades Host Final Practices Before New Year’s Day Indoor Shows
By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the 114th Mummers Parade takes place along Broad Street tomorrow, 11 fancy brigade clubs will perform two shows indoors at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Tickets are available at the door for the noon show. The 5 o’clock judged show is nearly sold out.
The Spartans are the newest club and one of 11 brigades performing. They’re doing a Native American theme drill complete with giant rolling totem poles and tepees. Pat Dio is a Spartans Club officer.
“To tell you the truth the whole year was a challenge. I mean you figure we are starting from nothing, we started with nothing. We started with nine guys and a fog machine. We build it up to 80 people. I mean the biggest challenge was just coming together and we are here,” Dio said.
And there are strict rules in the competition.
Fred Keller is the Vice President of the Fancy Brigade Association.
“Every prop, every float that you want to use, every member has to be in the drilling area at that time. We close the curtain, if it don’t fit you can’t use it,” Keller said.
City councilman Mark Squilla is a member of the Shooting Stars Brigade.
“The shows are for the people of the city of Philadelphia, but also tourists that come in to guarantee them an event just in case there is inclement weather. And it’s very important for the city to be able to promote that, because when we have something we want to promote hotels, restaurants, people to come in and sell them packages,” says Squilla. “You know they come down to see the mummers and for some reason the parade doesn’t happen because of weather, we are able to guarantee them a show.”
Each club gets four minutes and 30 seconds to put on a theatrical production.