New Fancy Brigade, The Spartans, Makes Convention Center Debut

(The Spartans Fancy Brigade performs.  Photo by John Ostapkovich)

(The Spartans Fancy Brigade performs. Photo by John Ostapkovich)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By  John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Mummers’ offshoot got some new blood today.

A brand-new fancy brigade — one of the indoor performing groups that were added to the New Year’s Day tradition in the late ’90s — made its debut today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Captain Tom ‘Turk’ Dinkle and the Spartans Fancy Brigade!”

Spartans Club officer Pat Dio says today was a long time coming.

“The whole year was a challenge.  You figure, we’re starting from nothing!  We started with nine guys and a fog machine.  We built it up to 80 people.   Really, the biggest challenge was coming together and… you know — we’re here!”

They put on a percussive performance with whirling dancing and some two-story-tall sets.

Jack, from South Philly, loved the show but may be accused of a biased review.

“They did really good.  The drill was perfect. The colors were fantastic.  The props… my son built the big totem poles,” he said.

The head of last year’s winning brigade says he welcomes the newcomers because it spreads the fine art of mummery.