The City of Philadelphia has announced one of its new year's resolutions - a more family-friendly Mummers extravaganza. Think more bathrooms and a new performance spot along Broad Street.
In unveiling details of the 111th Mummers Parade - to take place, fittingly, on 1/1/11 - city officials Wednesday also pledged to move the annual Mummers String Band Show of Shows to Philadelphia from Atlantic City, where it has been held for years.
That way, older Philadelphians who cannot withstand the typical January weather will get a chance to watch the Mummers live.
"That includes my 86-year-old mother," said U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.).
The congressman spoke along with Mayor Nutter at a news conference in front of the University of the Arts at Broad and Pine Streets - a new performance area that will be one of six on New Year's Day.
"This will be the most family-friendly and spectator-friendly Mummers Parade in decades," said city Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis, noting that all six performance zones will feature bleachers, bathrooms, and food vendors.
The others will be at Broad and Shunk, Wolf, and Sansom Streets and Washington Avenue, and at 15th and Market Streets.
Joining officials was George Badey, a Mummers Parade representative who in the last two years has clashed with the city over parade costs. Those tensions have dissipated, though, partly because of City Council legislation that reduced expenses by eliminating police overtime as a cost that must be paid by parade organizers.
Also, Brady spearheaded a new group, the Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, that raised $200,000 - with an additional $100,000 committed - to pay city cleanup and setup costs for 10 parades and festivals through 2012.
Brady is "our guardian angel," said Badey, chairman of the Save the Mummers Fund.
This year's Mummers Parade, expected to include 10,000 participants, will begin at 10 a.m. at Broad and Washington. It will feature five divisions, among them comics, comic wench brigades, fancies, and fancy brigades.
The parade will include the Pennsport String Band but not the Irish American String Band or the Oregon fancy club, which will march this year instead as a wench brigade.
Three comic clubs, two fancy division units, 17 string bands, 10 fancy brigades, and eight wench brigades are expected to march.