For years I have dreaded New Years day. Speaking from a bartenders perspective, New Years day has always been amateur hour. Dealing with mass amounts of intoxicated people has really skewed my view on what New Years day, and what the Mummers is about. But 2011 has opened my eyes.
After a decade of disdain, I experienced the parade from the roof tops and Broad Street at 10am to Two Street at 10pm. I found myself in the middle of everything. For the first time I was able to understand why everyone is so excited about New Years day in Philadelphia. It was nice to see how everyone in the city and from out of town came together to celebrate the new year. Watching the parade from a bar television every year gave it no justice. I am glad I finally had the time to come down to the parade.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic about being part of the parade. At first, I was behind the gates watching and shooting the parade. So I decided if I am really gonna experience the parade I have to go for it. I hopped the gates and started shooting the action, before dancing down Broad Street with various brigades. I experienced the comics, fancy brigades, and string bands. I got to meet a lot of interesting people too.
The photograph of the little boy holding the sign, “I see London, I see France”, is one of my favorites. This little Mummer was in it to win it. He was eager to have his picture taken and I was stoked to take it. Everyone was so friendly down to the picture of the older gentleman telling his story to me about how he has been a Mummer for over 20 years and now his sons have joined his ranks. I never understood the tradition but now I do.
All in all it was an awesome day. I will never work on New Years day again. It is possible you may see me in a brigade next year. It is in the works. I love the tradition and I respect all the people involved. Seeing the floats and costumes first hand made me very happy. The Mummers have earned my admiration. I can’t wait for next year.