Team Coverage by Mike Dougherty, Jim Melwert, and Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new, shorter parade route is the most obvious change to a long Philadelphia tradition: the annual Mummers’ Parade, held annually since 1901 on New Year’s Day.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Searching For Suspect Who Stole Car With 6-Year-Old Girl In Backseat
This year the parade begins at 15th and Market Streets in center city, where the judging area is now located.
Following each group’s performance for the judges, with props, each group will follow the new parade route that winds south on Broad — the opposite direction from the parade route of previous decades.
There will also be performance stops along South Broad Street, at Sansom and at Carpenter Streets, but without unwieldy props that have slowed down the parade in past years. This year’s parade wraps up at Washington Avenue.
Fralinger String Band captain Scott Wray (right center of photo below, in wool cap) says he supports the changes because they benefit the spectators:
“As a spectator, you get more bang for your buck,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “You hear more music and see more costumes, less props, more dancing and everything else. It’s going to be good for the parade itself.”
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Wray acknowledges that Fralinger finished in a disappointing fifth place in the judging last year and hopes to do better this year.
“Yeah, we’re trying to step the game up a little bit,” he says, “and get the trophy back where it belongs.”
The new parade route has some South Philadelphia residents bitterly unhappy. This morning, about a dozen protesters showed up at Broad and Oregon, the traditional starting point, to show their displeasure.
“We’re protesting because, for over 100 years, the parade has come from South Philly and headed north,” shouted Anna Marie Stoffo. She feels dissed on behalf of all South Philadelphians. “And it’s a disgrace what they’re doing to us, more and more, every year,” she said.
Stoffo organized the small but passionate group in defense of tradition.
“It’s a disgrace (how) they treat the Italians,” yelled one man. “They don’t treat anybody else like that. Where’s the parade? It’s gone. They took it away, and it’ll never be back.”
But the protesters could not dissuade the Mummers’ fans walking past them to get on the subway to center city to watch along the new route — even though many agreed with their sentiment.
“It’s a real loss,” admitted one man. “Yes, they’re moving it up to the center of the city, but it should still come down here. Tradition needs to happen.”
Stay tuned to KYW Newsradio 1060 throughout the day for parade updates and “Traffic and Transit on the Twos,” every ten minutes.
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