By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While we mostly think of the Mummers Parade on Broad Street as a New Year’s tradition in Philadelphia, a second one is about to strut again along the Main Street shopping and dining district in Manayunk. The Mummers Mardi Gras Parade will be held this Saturday.
All 17 String Bands are returning for the celebration that doubles as a fundraiser to keep their tradition alive, according to Philadelphia String Band Association President Tom Loomis.
“The 17 bands do a new theme every New Year’s Day. With that theme come costumes. They’re not inexpensive. They’re still elaborate,” said Loomis.
In recent years, City Hall began charging for police, maintenance and cleanup for all ethnic parades and street festivals.
Jane Lipton of the Manayunk Development Corporation says her organization, event promoter Advent, and several local sponsors are absorbing all costs, as well as guaranteeing each band $1,000. She says volunteers who are part of a bucket brigade will be looking for donations, in exchange for Mari Gras beads.
“Every penny dropped into a paint can will go directly to the mummers,” said Lipton.
Congressman Bob Brady also came through with $8,000 from his Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, the non-profit that picked up where the city left off, funding this event in Manayunk and a dozen other events.
The Mummer’s parade itself runs about a mile, from Shurs Lane to Green Lane on Saturday, between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Lipton says there are other activities throughout the day, geared to families and children.
“Because we need the next generation of mummer lovers to meet our mummers up close and personal.”
Organizers say a zero tolerance policy against public drinking will be strictly enforced.