2018 is off to a Golden start

Golden Crown, who walked away with the top prize on New Year’s Day, is preparing for the traditional Mummers Serenade planned for Saturday.

Golden Crown’s performance of ‘Out of the Web’ earned the Fancy Brigade club first place in the New Year’s Day finale. Photo provided by Anthony Singagoga

By Bill Gelman

Another Mummers Parade and Fancy Brigade Finale have come and gone. The clock is officially ticking until the next one comes around, but the wait to see the Mummers perform again in South Philly is much shorter, as in days away. One of the other popular traditions in Mummers country — the Mummers Serenade — weather permitting, will take place on Saturday (Jan. 13) at 1 p.m.

Golden Crown, the 2018 winners in the Fancy Brigade Division, will be front and center at the celebration as a result of last week’s very successful performance. For those unfamiliar with the tradition, the Fancy Brigades and various other Mummers groups perform, or serenade, the first-place club.

“It’s a chance to congratulate one another and wish each other luck for the upcoming year — it’s one of the many wonderful traditions of the Mummers,” Golden Crown captain Bob Runowski said.

The Pennsport resident also finished first among the captains in his division.

In terms of the plans for Saturday, the serenade will stage at 3rd and Mifflin streets and march south past the clubhouse to Snyder Avenue. There will be bleachers set up along 3rd Street.

This is a milestone 60th anniversary year for Golden Crown, as the brigade marched on Broad Street for the first time in 1959 under the George Martin N.Y.B. name, but would change its name to Silver Crown. The Golden Crown name was established in 1962. Runowski, who previously served as vice president, has been the captain since 2009.

“Any win is special, but it was an amazing feeling to win in our 60th anniversary,” Runowski said.

But like past parades, the other 11 Fancy Brigade clubs arrived at the Pennsylvania Convention Center with the same goal.

“The 2018 Fancy Brigade Finale was one of the strongest and most competitive parades ever. All 12 brigades did an amazing job,” Runowski said.

Of course, this year’s parade is hard to forget as a result of the sub-freezing conditions on New Year’s Day. The city even considered postponing the parade to last weekend, but the Mummers marched on like it was just another day in Philly.

“It was very cold, but not unbearable,” he said. “The excitement of the day and the tradition of marching down Broad Street and, later, down 2nd Street made it all worthwhile.”

Golden Crown’s theme was “Out of the Web” in which the story centered around a spider’s journey to the “secret garden” and the celebration once he arrived.

“The overall goal for this year’s theme was to put on a show that included more theatrical and dramatic elements than previous years,” Runowski, who is a human resources manager, said.

It’s almost time to start planning for the 2019 event. The Mummers Parade is a once-a-year event, but being a Mummer requires dedication as the performers fit in practice time between commitments at work and home. Call it a passion.

“The Mummers Parade truly is a year-long commitment, and every club works extremely hard,” Runowski said. “The combination of camaraderie and competitive spirit really keeps you going year after year.”

As for Saturday, the early forecast is looking balmy where highs could reach the low 50s, but there is a chance for rain. But like New Year’s Day, the faithful Mummers crowd will gather.

“We’d like to thank our families, friends, neighbors and the other clubs for their support. We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday,” Runowski said.