Mummers ring in 2015 with strut down Broad Street

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Despite an abbreviated route this year, Philadelphia's Mummers Parade did not disappoint - ringing in 2015 with festive flair.

Despite an abbreviated route this year, Philadelphia's Mummers Parade did not disappoint - ringing in 2015 with festive flair.

Bands of costumed performers - musicians, wenches, fancies and even a construction worker clown shooting a toilet paper gun - marched south on Broad Street on a mile-long route that reversed usual course and skipped the South Philadelphia neighborhoods considered the birthplace of the more than a century-old parade.

RELATED: Pictures from the 2015 Mummers Parade

The comics, fancies and string bands performed outside and for judges at City Hall.

"It was wonderful. It was everything we expected - the music the colors," said Patty Wietzel.

In the convention center, they put a show with costumes and sets rivaling Broadway productions.

"It's awesome to hear the crowd reaction. The competition here is phenomenal. So many clubs get better and better - it raises the bar every single year," said Jack Hatty, Saturnalia Fancy Brigade.

"You can tell how well they practiced, how much went into it and how much they're giving back to the people," said Julia Pinela.

As for the winners, Golden Sunrise took the crown for a second year in a row in the Fancy Division, South Philly Vikings won for the Fancy Brigades, Murray repeated for the Comic and Fralinger came in first among String Bands.

Click here for the full list of winners.

This year's route was only a third of the length of previous years. Organizers said it was designed to consolidate a procession long criticized for straggling and help cut down on police overtime.

The parade's oldest troupe, the Original Trilby String Band, sat out due to a lack of money and members. It's a trend that's rippling through the Philadelphia tradition.

Rocko Rounbehler performs with his grandson Jayden.

"We walk down the street, laugh, smile, hug, have fun - Happy New Year! That's what it's all about," said Rounbehler, Riverfront Mummers.

Samantha Garrity is carrying on a family tradition.

"My dad's from Philly and it's the best place to celebrate," said Garrity.

For others, 2015 ushered in their first Mummers Parade experience.

"I notice it every, just wanted to experience it this year," said Ebony Barrier.

"I never saw it, saw it on TV - never live. It's much better live," said Denise Dzara.

Despite all the crowds, participation in the parade has declined from 12,000 performers in 2001 to about 8,000 this year in part, organizers said, because the younger generation isn't embracing Mummery the way their older relatives did.

For some families, the tradition is too strong to break.

Little Lacey has had more Mummers parades than birthdays.

Her proud Frandpa Mark Montanaro is captain of the Sometimes Mummers. He, too, started early on, and now has decades under his belt.

"This is my 46th parade and I'm 58," said Montanaro.

Like many groups, the Sometimes Mummers welcome children into the fold early.

Oompa Loompa Logan Dibello has already been in two parades.

"And I'm 5 years old now," said Logan.

Their theme this year was candy based - crunchies, munchies, and belly aches.

This troupe is packed with family connections. They say it's in their blood and they're born into it.

"My dad brought me into it when I was 10 months old - strong bands march with my family," said Nicholas Montanaro.

The costumes, the routines, the crowds - there are a lot of things these kids love about being part of the parade.

"I just like walking down the street so much," said Little Logan.

Even though some of these Mummers are mini, they say they don't let the crowds intimidate them. They have advice for the first timers - just in case.

"I just say have fun," said Maddi Rosario.

As they grow, their appreciation of the tradition grows with them.

"As the years go on you learn more and more about the traditions of mummery - and it gets more exciting every year," said Montanaro.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this post.
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