Mummers 'Fancy Brigade Fest and Finale' returns to Pennsylvania Convention Center

The finale performances are expected to wrap up around 8 p.m. Saturday, and then will continue Sunday along Broad Street.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While the Mummers strut down Broad Street was postponed from New Year's Day to January 2 because of weather, one part of the tradition still took place.

Family and friends were excited for the Fancy Brigade Fest and Finale inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Performers say they've been looking forward to this day for two years, after having to cancel last year's competition amid the pandemic.

"It was brutal, being at home. It truly didn't hit me until New Year's morning last year when I was like, 'Man, we're not going to have a parade this year,' but we battled through," said Chris Misceli, the captain of Satin Slipper.

The Fancy Brigade Fest and Finale features 12 mummers clubs, who each perform a number and are scored on categories including costume, presentation, and production, all in front of a live audience.

"Everything really, because I always like seeing the colors, and the suits, and the floats," said 11-year-old Michael Dimperio from South Philadelphia.

Carol Armijo from Chester, New Jersey, said, "It's an untapped gem. No one knows about it, and I'm glad because if all of America knew about it, you'd have to put it at the (Philadelphia) Eagles' stadium."

Spectators had to buy tickets and wear masks during the show.

"I feel awesome. I mean, I know we all have to be safe, keep our masks on, keep our distance, but just being able to see everybody, have a good time, that's what it's worth," said Matthew Tavares from Norristown.

Even as COVID cases spike in Philadelphia to the highest daily levels since the start of the pandemic, both the Mummers and fans say it was worth it to bring back this tradition.

The finale performances are expected to wrap up around 8 p.m. Saturday, and then will continue Sunday along Broad Street.

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