There were fireworks, Mummers, and loads of good cheer despite the cold.

Given that was all packed into a 30-minute news conference within the City Hall Courtyard on Friday, imagine what the extended version will look like as the year turns Jan. 1.

The New Year's highlights, as presented by city officials, include a refigured route for the Mummers Parade and two sets of fireworks on New Year's Eve - one early, one late - to accommodate the varying schedules of the region's revelers.

"There is no better place to spend the New Year than in Philadelphia," said Mayor Nutter, who shared the news conference with Camden Mayor Dana Redd and a quartet of Mummers, who provided a musical backdrop.

Redd, noting the fireworks can be seen from both sides of the Delaware River, said Camden was "thrilled to celebrate another New Year's Eve with its sister city."

The fireworks, sponsored by SugarHouse Casino, will light up the skies first at 6 p.m. and then at the more traditional time of midnight.

The highlight of New Year's Day, of course, will be the Mummers Parade, a tradition that dates back centuries.

This year, however, the route has been changed in an effort to breathe a bit more life into what had become a rather moribund event for many parade-watchers.

Rather than head north out of South Philadelphia, the parade will start at Dilworth Park, 15th and Market Streets, where performances will be judged before the various units proceed to South Broad Street and march south to Washington Avenue.

The Mummers themselves had complained that the long wait to be judged undercut their enthusiasm as they marched north, much of the time not even performing. They asked for the route change so they could get the judging out of the way before the actual parading.

The hope is that it will allow the performers to be more spontaneous, the parade to be more entertaining.

There will be 1,200 ticketed bleacher seats at Dilworth Park. Tickets are available for $20 by calling 1-800-537-7676 or by going to the Independence Visitor Center at Sixth and Market Streets or the Welcome Center at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard.

There will be two additional spots where the Mummers units will perform. They are at the Union League at Broad and Sansom Streets and at Broad and Carpenter Streets.

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