Bringing The Mummers Back To South Philly?

Do Any Of You South Philadelphians And Former Devotees Really Care?

This is something that I wanted to put out there for everyone to take a look at. It’s my suggestion, but I think this is something worth considering for the 2016 Mummers Day Parade. Let’s try this for the march back up Broad Street next year:

The Mummers Mardi Gras Manayunk parade is the newest money-making plan to save the Mummers from extinction.

The Mummers Manayunk Mardi Gras parade is the newest money-making plan to save the Mummers from extinction.

  1. Oregon Ave. to Wolf St. (performance area zone/5 blocks) Let’s face it, this is the only area that still has the biggest crowds in S. Philly that fully come out to support the parade. There could still be a full performance drill at Shunk Street, but by adding a shortened version full performance drill in front of the Methodist Hospital (if agreed) would be ideal.
  2. Wolf St. to Passyunk Avenue (dead zone/non performances/4 blocks) Starting from Wolf St., this area starts no-man’s land, and everyone knows that; especially, from Jackson to McKean where it’s practically empty. But by having a full performance drill at Passyunk Ave. (if agreed) would be ideal to get the ball rolling again with the crowds in and around that neighborhood and northward.
  3. Passyunk Avenue to Dickinson St. (performance area zone/5 blocks) Of course this is the area where it’s always the biggest issue. The Mummers complain about with thinned-out crowds for a number of blocks until you get to Washington Ave. So by adding on a full performance drill at Passyunk and possibly by adding another shorter version full performance drill up around Morris-Tasker (if agreed) then this could be a good thing to get this neighborhood back to the way it was. It’s worth a try!
  4. Dickinson St. to Washington Avenue (dead zone/non performances/4 blocks). It’s a tough choice to make, but this area has the same problem with thinned-out crowds watching the parade along this route, so I suggest this becomes a dead zone area. But this area does have two good choices for its residents to see full performances drills by either going south a few blocks to watch a shorten one at Tasker-Morris (if it happens) or going north a few blocks to Washington Avenue.
  5. Washington Ave. to Bainbridge St. (performance area zone/5 blocks) This area is tricky because Washington Ave. is a full performance drill area, so it always has a big crowd there watching. Though it’s after Washington Ave., the crowd starts to dwindle down and thin out again, so you only get spurts of crowds here and there watching the parade along Broad Street. Though adding on a shorter full performance drill at Fitzwater St. (if agreed) would be ideal for entertaining both the people and the men and women up the block at Engine 1 Ladder 5. Although this area could change over time of what is or isn’t to be a performance area zone and/or a dead zone, so we should assume that this is a good choice for now, but I’m sure there will be changes.
  6. Bainbridge St. To Pine St. (dead zone/non performances/3 blocks) This area has thinned-out crowds also, so I suggest that this area becomes a dead zone. Plus, this would be the shortest dead zone up Broad Street, because it would be ideal to bring back a full performance drill in front of the U. of Arts on Pine St.
  7. Pine St. to City Hall (performance area zone/6 blocks) Have a full performance drill in front of U. of Arts. and at The Union League.

    The Mummers Mardi Gras Manayunk parade is the newest money-making plan to save the Mummers from extinction.

    The Mummers Manayunk Mardi Gras parade is the newest money-making plan to save the Mummers from extinction.

The comics will continue on starting at Washington Ave. and the fancies at Broad & Snyder, so this new change will start when the string bands march up Broad St.

So now you’re saying to yourself: so what’s this performance area zone and dead zone all about, and what does it mean? Let me explain:

First, performance area zones would be where the Mummers march up Broad St. entertaining the people – it’s just about having a good old time, and where they’ll do two full performance drills for the crowd: one full and one shortened (with or without their props, and they could make that choice, whatever they decide to use props or not – it’s up to them). Actually, my suggestion would be if the Mummers want to do their full performance drills with props then Shunk, Passyunk (if agreed), Washington Ave., Pine and The Union League would be ideal. All other full performance drills would be shorter versions and without props to save on time. So as it stands, performance area zones would be where the Mummers would continuously play music and strut. Whatever they want to do to entertain the crowds they could do it and have a blast along the way, for themselves and for the people watching.

Second, dead zones are areas that would be downtime for the Mummers. This means there would be no entertainment. They could chill out, take a breather, and they could do whatever they want in this zone because it’s their time. Anything broken? Then fix it. Costume needs an adjustment? Then adjust it. Instrument needs repair? Then repair it. Whatever, they’ll have the time to do it because that what this zone is for – down-time for the Mummers to do what they want to or need to before entertaining the crowds again in the performance zones. Again this is for the Mummers to get some downtime before entertaining the crowds. But of course they’ll have to keep moving along this route to avoid any back-ups.

So there you have it, my suggestions on saving this tradition before it becomes extinct, and bringing it back to South Philly and north up Broad Street. It’s not such a bad thing to at least try this new route out for next year’s parade. So I hope the city, the people and the Mummers like this new idea for now, and give it a chance. Further, the areas that are in both performance and dead zones could change over time with an adjustment due to the type of crowds that come out. If this happens and all is good then possibly stretch out performance zones even further or if not then cut back on some. But it’s up to you to make this happen.

If you want to show your support then go to my twitter account @PeterIannelli1, and send a message with #MummersReturn16.

Let’s do this for 2016!

Peter A. Iannelli Jr.

(South Philadelphia)

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