Money flowing to the Mummers

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - December 24, 2008 - But, they'll need even more cash for the tradition to continue.

The event was in a financial bind after the city of Philadelphia slashed its funding to $300,000, about a third of last years funding.

However, in just one week, the /*Mummers*/ have raised almost a quarter of a million dollars for the New Year's Day parade.

"Our goal this year is $400,000. That's how much we're in the hole because of budget cuts," said George Badey, the Mummer's lawyer, who said they've already raised more than $230,000.

Donations have rolled in, from individuals donating over the internet to a $40,000 donation from cheesesteak giant Joey Vento. Corporations like Forman Mills, Verizon, and Electric Factory have chipped in. So has the Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund, which gave $100,000.

With this cash, the Mummer's are firmly set for their shortened parade. The big question now: What happens for 2010 when city hall withdraws all financial support and the Mummers are entirely on their own?

"This is Philadelphia, we are a tradition. We're cheesesteaks, we're the Liberty Bell, we're Philadelphia! Some way, in some shape or form, there will be a Mummer's parade," said John Pignotti of the String Band Association.

"This is the bottom line is: These are our roots, and everybody's got this root in them in Philadelphia," said Bob Shannon of the Philadelphia Mummer's Association. "I don't care what color, what nationality you are, you are a Mummer New Year's day.

This parade will be no longer than 6 and a half hours, a cost cutting necessity. Will this fund-raising momentum continue??

"We're going to raise a lot more money with all of our efforts for next year, and who knows. We might be in better shape with the city and be able to get that happening," said Rep. Bob Brady.

If the weather blocks the parade next Thursday, the first make-up day would be the following Saturday.

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