What do Budget Cuts Mean For Mummer's Parade?

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Members of the Pennsport String Band perform before the judges during the 2008 Mummers Parade. (Ron Tarver/Inquirer)

Mayor Nutter's grim budget cutting plan slashes city funding for a beloved Philadelphia tradition -- the annual Mummers Parade, held each year on New Year's Day.

The city has cut $355,000 that it gives to the Mummers for prize money -- a cut that will apply to the next parade. And George Badey, publicity director for the Philadelphia Mummers Association, said the Mummers are not happy about it.

"It’s drastic to say we’re going to give them no prize money after 108 years," Badey said. "It’s sending the message that they don’t care about us and if the Mummers went away it doesn’t matter."

The prize money covers only a fraction of the costs that clubs incur to participate in the parade. A string band could spend up to $100,000 to compete in the parade and the top prize it could win is about $9,700. Still, Badey said they were promised the money. He said Mummers leadership hopes to talk with the city soon about the decision.

"I would hope the city would sit down and openly acknowledge the importance of the Mummers to the city," Badey said.

Another issue for the Mummers is who will pay police overtime costs on parade day. The mayor's budget plan says the city will be more rigorous about collecting overtime costs for special events. But the mayor's press office said it hasn't been determined yet who will pay for the overtime for the Mummers Parade.

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