What is a Mummer you ask?
I’ve been a part of the Mummer’s Parade for the past 3 years now.
(From left to right: 2016 parade, 2017 parade, 2018 parade)
This year however, I was also able to attend something even more special than the parade. Leen’s uncle, Ron Weber (who is a very active member of the club I walk with in the parade, O’Malley NYA) was receiving his induction into the Mummer’s Hall of Fame. This would take place at the Mummer’s Museum on 2nd and Washington, in Philly (March 3, 2018).
This was my first time going inside of the museum, so I was pretty excited! Mainly, because I always drove by the museum and was interested in the colorful building in and of itself. Just Google search “Mummer’s Museum” and you’ll know what I mean.
Parking is free for the museum lot and there is also street parking, but street parking is tough to come by in South Philly… although we did manage to find a spot! Walking into the museum, I was immediately shocked by how much bigger it was inside than the outside makes it look. There were three floors. The top floor was the museum. The middle floor was the “Winner’s Circle,” a lobby, and restrooms. The lower floor was the banquet hall with cafeteria style seating and a bar.
The “Winner’s Circle” is a line up of the prior year’s award winning outfits. One of these years I hope to see an O’Malley NYA outfit up there… and if the rumors I heard for next year’s outfits are true, I think 2019 will be the year!
We made our way past the “Winner’s Circle” and down to the lower level to find seats. There were a couple designated tables for O’Malley members. We got a few seats and quickly made our way over to the open bar. Once we had our drinks we mingled with friends and family that were also there for Web’s induction. After about 30-45 minutes we made our way to the buffet line. I’m not sure who catered this event, but the food was outstanding! There was roast pork, meatballs, potato wedges, green beans, sausage and peppers, pasta, and a few other options I can’t remember. Each choice was better than the next. It was so good, I cleared my entire plate (and if you know how I eat, you know that’s a rarity).
Shortly after we finished eating, the ceremony began. They gave out awards for the top 3 wench brigades in 2018. O’Malley ended up 3rd! Couldn’t believe it. The ceremony continued with more awards and eventually got to the hall of fame inductions. Web went up and gave a thank you speech. He ended with thanking his best friend (Leen’s dad), Mr. Stamato. It was a short and sweet speech. See for yourself…
During the ceremony it was noticeably hard to hear the speakers due to the low ceiling over more than half the banquet area. It trapped the sound making things seem much louder and the crowd had to keep being quieted down. I’m not surprised at all, seeing as though it was a Mummer’s event after all. The final part of the ceremony (before the dancing began) was the drawing of brigade placement for 2019. This is just a member from each brigade picking numbers out of a hat to see which position they will march in the parade next year. O’Malley drew the 5th spot, meaning we’ll be 5th in line down Broad Street.
When the ceremony was over, Leen and I wandered up to the museum on the 3rd floor. It was really cool to see the history behind the Mummer’s and look at the old outfits and pictures. To be honest, this is a one and done museum. I would love to go back if/when O’Malley makes it onto the Winner’s Circle and certainly would love to go back for another event, but the museum itself (only $5 for admission, by the way) you only really need to see once.
After we scoped out the museum, it was time to head back downstairs for more drinks and dancing. We were shocked to find out the bar didn’t have any blackberry brandy. That is a staple drink for Mummers! We opted for soco (Southern Comfort) and lime instead. Certainly not the same as blackberry.
Our night came to a close with the Mummer’s strut taking place on the dance floor (after Leen had to argue with the DJ that they couldn’t end the night without it). For those of you that don’t know the Mummer’s strut, here’s a video from this year’s parade of us doing the strut at City Hall.
I want to end this post by extending a huge congratulations to Web. The hall of fame induction was much deserved and I’m honored I was able to attend!