Mummers Parade 2022 guide: How to watch, road closures, and more
Everything you need to know about the return of the Mummers parade.
UPDATE: The outdoor portion of the Mummers Parade has been postponed until Jan. 2 due to rain. The indoor portion will take place as planned in the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Jan. 1. All road closures, parking restrictions and SEPTA detours will extend to Jan. 2.
The PHL17 broadcast will air the Fancy Brigade Division finale on at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1. The parade will be broadcast starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2.
After an official, pandemic-induced hiatus in 2021 (and an unofficial “protest” parade), the Mummers Parade will be strutting down Broad Street once again on New Year’s Day in 2022.
City officials announced the return of the parade — a New Year’s Day tradition that goes back more than 120 years — in November. City Councilmember Mark Squilla, who is a Mummer with the Shooting Stars Fancy Brigade, said that “no other place in the world rings in New Year’s like Philadelphia” thanks to the Mummers.
» READ MORE: UPDATE: Mummers Parade postponed to Jan. 2 because of rain
But a number of offensive incidents at past parades means all Mummers must undergo sensitivity training from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission this year (the city began offering the trainings in 2016, but this year, proof of participation is required). Skits and themes for the parade this year also require approval by the commission and Parks and Recreation, Kathryn Ott Lovell, parks and rec commissioner, recently told The Inquirer.
“The trainings the Human Relations Commission have designed specifically for the Mummers have included everything from cultural trainings and diversity trainings as well as implicit bias and racial bias trainings,” Ott Lovell said.
As the Mummers return to Broad Street, here’s where and how to join the festivities, how you can survive the traffic chaos, and, if you’re new to Philly, a little bit to clue you in.
What are the Mummers?
The basics. The Mummers Parade is made up of roughly 40 clubs split into five categories: Comics, Wench Brigades, Fancies, String Bands, and the Fancy Brigades. Each category has its own signature performance specialty, and all compete against each other for bragging rights. The Wench and Comics groups are known for scheming up satirical themes. The Fancies don costumes both magnificent in size and beauty. The String Bands are filled with saxophone, banjo, accordion, violin, bass fiddle, drum, and glockenspiel players. And the Fancy Brigades create elaborate and theatrical performances (such as a costume of the Magic Gardens, arguably the most Philly thing ever), performed both during the parade and afterward at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In the end, judges declare winners.
The history. The Mummers Parade grew out of traditions that came over with waves of European immigrants into Philadelphia. The name comes from the centuries-old English mummers plays; the word traces back to the god Momus of Greek mythology, who represents mockery and satire. The modern parade has been an official event since 1901, after reporter and theater promoter H. Bart McHugh pitched the idea to the mayor as a way of controlling “historically chaotic celebrations.” McHugh worked with Councilmember John H. Baizley, who drew upon his past as a leader of a neighborhood gang, which would dress up for Halloween-esque trick-or-treating. The parade was originally called the Shooters Parade, because firing guns in the air “was a macho ritual with these South Philadelphia urban cowboys,” The Inquirer wrote in 2000.
The controversy. The parade has had its problems over the years, including its use of blackface and depictions of Indians, Native Americans, Mexicans, LGBTQ people, and other groups. In 2016, this led to some sensitivity training, but that hasn’t ended controversy: In 2018, a skit involving someone depicting Jay-Z walking someone portraying Mayor Jim Kenney on a leash reignited the debate about the Mummers and minstrelsy.
How to watch the 2022 Mummers Parade
Take transit. With many road closures surrounding the route, it’s highly encouraged to use SEPTA for commuting to the parade. Buses around City Hall and the parade route will be detoured. Information regarding bus detours, alerts, and New Year’s scheduling can be found on SEPTA.org.
Arrive early to get a good spot. Visitors can bring lawn chairs to set up on Broad Street. Currently, the forecast is calling for temperatures in the high 50s with around a 90% chance of rain throughout the day, so dress accordingly. And as the Inquirer recently reported, a Mummers spokesperson has said that rainy weather could postpone the outdoor portion of the parade.
You can also watch from home on PHL17, which begins broadcasting coverage at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day with Breakfast with the Mummers. Or, you can livestream it via the station’s website.
What is the parade route?
The parade begins at 9 a.m. at City Hall. A main judging stand is near the start at 15th and Market Streets. The parade travels south down Broad Street to Washington Avenue, where it ends by 6 p.m. The Order of March begins with the Golden Sunrise Fancy Division at about 9 a.m., and moves on to the Wench, Comic, String Band, and Fancy Bridge Divisions throughout the morning and afternoon.
Afterward, many of the performers head to South Second Street, known as “Two Street,” for a boisterous party that continues into the night. But with COVID-19 still present, and delta and omicron variants causing a surge, you may want to take extra precautions, or sit the party out.
While there are performances along the entire parade route, there are also designated performance areas so brigades can present choreographed routines.
The first is at 15th and Market near City Hall, where there will also be a judging stand.
The second is at Broad and Sansom, where only the String Bands perform.
The third is at Broad and Pine, where Fancies, Wenches, Comics, and Fancy Brigades perform.
The final area is at Broad and Carpenter for all groups.
How to get tickets
While the parade is free to attend, you can buy tickets for bleacher seating in the City Hall Performance Zone, as well as for the Fancy Bridge finale performances (at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.) at the Convention Center. Tickets are $20-$38 and can be acquired at the Independence Visitor Center, by calling 800-537-7676, or online at PHLVisitorCenter.com/Mummers.
Even though the parade is outside, COVID-19, including the new omicron variant, is still a major concern and it’s a good idea to take precautions. As the city notes online, COVID-19 regulations require all parade-goers along the route to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, except when actively eating or drinking.
If you’re going, it’s a good idea to physically distance yourself from others as much as possible, and stay home if you are sick or have symptoms. The city recommends that if you’re going to the parade, you should get tested for COVID-19 and screen yourself for symptoms of the illness before heading out.
Road closures and parking restrictions
Parking restrictions for the 2022 Mummers Parade start on Dec. 27 along some areas of the parade route. Most of the parking and traffic restrictions will be lifted after the parade ends. For more information, or to see a map of the parade route, visit phila.gov/mummers.
Monday, Dec. 27
No parking on the east side of 15th Street from John F. Kennedy Boulevard to South Penn Square from 6 p.m. Dec. 27 through 6 p.m. Jan. 2
Tuesday, Dec. 28
Two eastbound lanes on 15th Street will be closed from John F. Kennedy Boulevard to South Penn Square from 7 a.m. Dec. 28 to 7 a.m. Jan. 2. All of 15th Street may be completely closed for short intervals during that time.
Wednesday, Dec. 29
No parking on the west side of 15th Street from Arch Street to Ranstead Street from 6 p.m. Dec. 29 to 6 p.m. Jan. 2. No street or sidewalk vendors will be allowed to park in the area during that time.
Thursday, Dec. 30
15th Street will be closed to southbound traffic at John F. Kennedy Boulevard from 10 a.m. to noon for equipment setup and delivery.
Friday, Dec. 31
No parking on either side of Market Street from 15th Street to 21st Street from 4 a.m. Dec. 31 to 6 p.m. Jan. 1.
No parking on either side John F. Kennedy Boulevard from Juniper Street to 20th Street from 4 a.m. Dec. 31 to 6 p.m. Jan. 1.
15th Street will be closed to vehicles from John F. Kennedy Boulevard to Market Street from 10 a.m. Dec. 31 through 7 a.m. Jan. 2.
Market Street will be closed to vehicles from 15th Street to 16th Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Market Street will reopen at 3 p.m., and traffic will travel eastbound on Market to 15th Street, and continue southbound on 15th Street.
Saturday, Jan. 1
15th Street from Arch Street to Chestnut Street is closed to vehicles from 3 a.m. until the parade is over.
Market Street from 15th Street to 16th Street is closed to vehicles from 3 a.m. until the parade is over.
Broad Street will be closed to vehicles from South Penn Square to Washington Avenue from 7 a.m. until the parade is over.
No vehicles will be able to cross Broad Street for the duration of the parade. If you’re driving, expect delays during the parade, use alternate routes, and avoid the area.
Additional Parking Restrictions on Jan. 1
There are temporary no parking zones in effect from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan 1. These restrictions will affect both sides of the streets, unless otherwise noted:
Broad Street from Arch Street to Ellsworth Street.
Juniper Street from John F. Kennedy Boulevard to South Penn Square (east side).
South Penn Square from Juniper Street to 15th Street.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 16th Street to 20th Street.
North side of Logan Circle.
North Broad Street from Cherry Street to John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
16th Street from Chestnut Street to Race Street.
17th Street from Ben Franklin Parkway to Ludlow Street.
18th Street from Race Street to Ludlow Street.
19th Street from Ben Franklin Parkway to Chestnut Street.
19th Street from John F. Kennedy Boulevard to Market Street.
1500 block of Ranstead Street.
1300 block of Carpenter Street.
1000 block of South 13th Street.
Chestnut Street from 15th Street to 18th Street (north side).
Cherry Street from 15th Street to 17th Street.
Arch Street from 15th Street to 17th Street.
Washington Avenue from 12th Street to 18th Street.
SEPTA service and detours
SEPTA buses, trolleys, subway lines, the Norristown High Speed Line, and Regional Rail trains will run on a Saturday schedule on New Year’s Day. You can follow real-time updates on the agency’s System Status website, TransitView on the SEPTA app, or on Twitter at @SEPTA_Bus. More information about Regional Rail train schedules is available on SEPTA’s website.
Additionally, the city advises that transit riders should expect detours for bus routes that travel near the parade, including routes 2, 4, 9, 12, 16, 17, 21, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 40, 42, 44, 45, 48, 49, 64, 124, and 125.
This story includes earlier reporting from Grace Dickinson.