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Air apparent

“Well, I’m going to be honest with you, alcohol is a big help,” Joan McMillan said early Saturday evening as she danced around, braving freezing temperatures along the 1800 block of South 11th Street. “Who really cares about the cold, though, when you can enjoy unforgettable experiences among your friends?”

The eager reveler walked a short distance from her Passyunk Square home to catch the Fancy Brigade Serenade, continuing a tradition that she started two years ago when moving from Pittsburgh. Thanks to the day’s snowfall, which the National Weather Service registered as hitting 3.8 inches in South Philly, McMillan and other joyful locals had their celebration delayed for 90 minutes, but once the party began, it was apparent that a blizzard could not have deterred them from celebrating with their Mummers Parade heroes.

“When I went to the parade, the weather was immaculate, and today, not so much,” Marc Ennis said as he tightened his scarf. “You know what’s constant, though? How good these groups are.”

The Pennsport resident called himself “spoiled” because of the heavy concentration of Mummers-related activity in his neighborhood. Through his visit to East Passyunk Crossing, with the South Philly Vikings, this year’s parade victor for their “It’s All in Your ‘Mime’” theme, as the host, Ennis experienced his second serenade and, like McMillan, faced the harsh winds with thanks to an alcoholic pick-me-up.

Everyone was in high spirits as the brigades, minus their costumes yet nonetheless vibrant, presented their well-received routines. They all enjoyed loud praise, with Tiffany James, 14, wondering how Saturnalian, with “The Gangs of New York” presentation, did not take the top prize on New Year’s Day.

“They’re amazing!” the Marconi girl shouted.

About an hour into the celebration, a few crowd members started to talk about how temperatures would soon drop into the teens. That forecast, however, couldn’t compete with Joe Paccini’s enthusiasm.

“Oh, you can warm up in your beds later tonight,” the Passyunk Square resident said. “Being cold is a small price to pay for welcoming 2017 again.” SPR

Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@southphillyreview.com.

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