The city considered rescheduling the 2018 Mummers Parade due to below freezing conditions, but a Saturday afternoon vote settled the issue
By Bill Gelman
“Philadelphia considering postponing the Mummers Parade due to bitter cold.”
The headline started appearing on media outlet websites Thursday afternoon.
Yes, with the majority of the Mummers festivities taking place outside on a day in which the high is projected to be around 21 degrees, there was enough reason to sound the alarms. But this Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition that dates back to 1901 will go on, even with the concerns about the deep freeze.
The city met with the five divisions of the Mummers Parade on Saturday afternoon, and they voted 3–2 in favor of the event going on as scheduled. The Philadelphia String Band Association was one of the divisions that voted in favor of a postponement.
“Based on the weather forecast of 20-degree temperatures and 20-mph winds, for the safety of of our Mummers and our fans, the Philadelphia String Band Association voted to postpone the parade,” the organization posted on its Facebook page. “However, with an overall vote in favor of marching on New Year’s Day from all parade divisions, the String Band Association will proudly participate in this year’s parade.
“We encourage anyone that plans to come out to the parade to dress warmly and stay safe throughout the day.”
To accommodate the marchers, the city will provide special warming tents to protect the various Mummers divisions while they wait to perform. In addition, 50 to 60 buses will be provided to give Mummers groups the opportunity to stay warm along the parade route.
The Philadelphia String Band Association posted a Facebook poll on Friday as to whether or not the Mummers Parade should go on as scheduled, with “Yes” taking 58 percent of the vote.
Prior to the Mummers Parade, several other clubs weighed in on the cold-weather issue. It comes with the territory of marching on New Year’s Day in Philly.
Oregon NYA, part of the Wench Brigade Division, shared its enthusiasm following the vote.
“See you all on New Year’s Day! That’s how the Mummers roll,” the group posted on its Facebook page following the vote. “Marching on New Year’s Day!”
The Mummers Parade goes on year after year, and for the most part, weather conditions are not enough to stop it. There have been a total of 22 postponements since 1922, according to the mummers.com website, with the most recent being in 2003 as a result of rain. The 1919 parade did not take place as a result of World War I, and the ’34 event did not take place as a result of the Depression.
This year’s parade will likely be remembered as one of the coldest, but the focus will now shift to getting ready for Jan. 1, 2019. In terms of how the clubs did with the judges, a complete rundown of the results along with parade photos will appear in the Jan. 3 edition of the South Philly Review.