Behind scenes of Mummers Parade 2016

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The New Year's Day Mummers Parade is hours away and crews are working to make sure everything is perfect.

If you're visiting the city or just have never made it out to see it, Mummers say you will be impressed.

"They say, 'Where you been all our lives?' We're called the best kept secret in Philadelphia," said Bill Burke Jr., Vice President of the Mummers Fancy Brigade Association. "People don't get to see it mostly out of the Philadelphia area, but when they do it's like oh my God."

View the 2016 Mummers Parade Brochure

Productions can cost anywhere from $50-150,000. But participants say it's all worth it as they parade down Broad Street in Center City on New Year's Day.

Crews work all year to select the right costumes and displays for the big day.

"A lot of work to get here, drills, rehearsals, you know, working on props, working on costumes," said Sam Regalbuto of the Quaker City String Band.

It's a Philadelphia tradition that's been around for more than 100 years. Participants say it's about family, friends, entertainment and ringing in the New Year. Once the parade is over, the work continues and Mummers start planning for the next year.

"There's a theme and we get props design, we get costume design, and we come down here and build everything," said Scott Wray of the Fralinger String Band. "It's one big vicious circle."

All the pageantry and eye-popping costumes are not just for onlookers - each Mummer's club is competing for a trophy and looking for first-place bragging rights.

"I am telling you it's no different than if you won the Super Bowl. You're the champion," said Burke. "You're the best in the world in the Mummers, and you carry that title all year," said Burke.
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