Mummer’s Fancy Brigade

Event: The Mummer’s Fancy Brigade Finale (2015)

Location: Philadelphia, PA

History: The Mummer’s are considered the oldest, continuous “folk festival” in the United States. The parade wasn’t officially organized by the city until 1901, and the indoor finale has only been going on for 18 years when the props started to become larger and needed to be operated indoors. Before then, dating back to the 1700s, it was a bunch of people dressed up in silly costumes carrying on until someone gave them food or drink on New Year’s Day.

There are a few categories of mummer’s, but it’s the fancy brigades with their intricate costumes and elaborate, moveable sets that close the festivities (and it’s better than anything I’ve seen on Broadway or anywhere else!). They raise funds all year, investing a huge sum of money, time and energy into their performances. I read in the paper that the costs run up to +$200,000!

Notes: I was seated on the side which limited viewing but it was fascinating to see the finale just this once in person. Of course the costumes are even more beautiful than on TV. There was also low light and people’s heads to contend with while snapping a few pictures and they’re not in the best focus. In the end the photos are more about the memory than any attempt at photography. Man, I wish I could have been closer to those costumes. Definitely planning a trip to the Mummer’s Museum!