Performers hold final rehearsals ahead of Mummers Parade on New Year's Day

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Saturday, December 30, 2023
Performers hold final rehearsals ahead of Mummers Parade
Performers hold final rehearsals ahead of Mummers Parade on New Year's Day

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Final preparations are underway for the 2024 Mummers Parade on New Year's Day and performers say they're ready to put on an unforgettable show.

Saturday, crews had already blocked off the stage area around city hall and were setting up barricades.

Meanwhile, in Bridesburg, the Greater Kensington String Band was doing a final rehearsal at Franklin Towne Charter Elementary School before their performance.

"There's nothing like it," said Brian McGuire, the band's vice president. "I think it's one of the most unique things I've ever experienced. So many people in this city get so revved up for this and put a lot of time and effort into it."

The club has been rehearsing since September for the Mummer's Parade but planning for this production started long before that.

"I think people on New Year's Day see a four-minute routine and think we put it together last week, but it's really a year-long commitment," said John Baron, the production coordinator for the band.

The commitment is to make the more than 120-year-old Mummers Parade an event to remember.

"It's fun for people like me who've been involved for so long but it's also fun to see the excitement on little kids or older people who are enjoying the Mummer's Parade on that day to say wow that was an awesome performance," said Baron.

This year, more than two dozen clubs will be competing in four different categories; Fancy, Comic, Wench and String Bands.

The Greater Kensington String Band will go up against 13-year other bands for bragging rights as best as show.

"For us, it's like a mini Broadway show that we like to think we're entertaining people and putting smiles on people's faces," said Baron.

For the performers, the Philadelphia tradition of elaborate costumes and strutting down Broad Street is just as thrilling as winning.

"There are huge crowds a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, confetti and glitter everywhere. It's just really great time," said McGuire.

The outdoor parade starts at 9 a.m. on New Year's Day. If you want to watch, get to your spot early, there's bound to be a crowd.