Last-minute preps underway ahead of Mummers Parade

Saturday, December 31, 2016
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Just two nights before the big parade, Mummers were still working on last-minute preparations.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Just two nights before the big parade, Mummers were still working on last-minute preparations.

"The last few days have been hectic cause there's been a lot of changes and girls coming glittering, a little confusion, but we're ready to go," said Dan Tutsis, Hegeman String Band.

Of course, there are all those colorful Mummers' suits that seem to get more intricate every year.

"That's a little bit different from your traditional Mummers' costume," said Bob Griffiths, Fralinger String Band.

Fralinger String Band knows a little something about what it takes to win. They've won 18 first prizes over the years.

"This is a full year of preparation. As soon as Jan. 2 hits, we're already preparing for next year," said Griffiths.

And, of course, all eyes are on the South Philly String Band, this year's grand prize winner.

"These guys have been working down here every night since September," said Capt. Denny Polandro, South Philly String Band. "It's a lot of pressure, there's a lot of great bands out there, lot of great competition, but we're prepared, we're ready to go."

For many Mummers, this is a family tradition that stretches over several generations, and they start being involved at a young age, like 6-year-old Roma Tenuto.

"Absolutely, she loves hanging out with daddy around the club house," said Anthony Tenuto, Fralinger String Band.

They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on props and costumes, and many, many hours preparing for the parade. The competition is tough, but for a guy like Kenny Didiros, whose been a Mummer for 50 years, there's a special bond you build along the way.

"You can say all you want about the prize, but in the end, it's the friends you make cause they last a lifetime," said Kenny Didiros, Hegeman String Band.

"We're just a tight-knit family pretty much," said Mike Paul, Fralinger String Band, adding they have a lot of fun along the way.