ALTHOUGH their props were destroyed in a four-alarm warehouse fire on Monday, Fralinger String Band will perform in the New Year's Day parade - and their friendly rivals are offering to help.
"Our hearts go out to them," said Tom Maminski of the Aqua String Band in Bridesburg. "Whatever they need, our door is open. The competition is New Year's Day, but the rest of the year, we're all one big family."
Aqua Captain Ron Iannacone said that he reached out to Fralinger's president and captain as soon as he heard about the fire to offer support.
"We're fond of saying that we compete on New Year's Day and are brothers the rest of the year, and that is true," Iannacone said. "It's hard to see a family member go through this.
"Fralinger's talent lies in their pure musical ability and execution. Even if they had no props, they would do an extraordinary job on New Year's Day."
City Councilman Jim Kenney, who was a member of Jokers New Year's Association for 30 years, said that if a fancy brigade lost its props, "they could never recover in time for New Year's Day."
"But string bands depend more on musical talent than props," Kenney said, "so Fralinger should be OK."
Cheryl Crowe, who inherited the Duffy String Band in Fishtown from her dad, Henry Kunzig Sr., 18 years ago, and who saw the fire blazing as she was driving on I95, said, "I'd loan them my warehouse, my garage, whatever I can. You compete for four and a half minutes. Other than that, we're all one. It's only 21 days to the parade. We got to get some screw guns going."