news

For Mummers, only the hardiest of fans brave cold

Mari A. Schaefer, STAFF WRITER

Updated: Monday, January 1, 2018, 11:16 AM

Cole Lubinsky, 6, presses his face against the school bus window as he and the other small children dressed as wenches for American NYB Comic presentation of The Empire Struts Back at the Mummers Parade.

Blame it on the frigid temperatures, the ever-changing route, or maybe a general decline in interest, but the crowds for the 2018 Mummers Parade mostly stayed home.

A slow camera shutter speed captures the motion of the lighted Vikings on a darkened stage as they perform "King Neptune's Return to the Reef," bringing the coral reef to life at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Golden Crown perform "Out of the Web," journeying to a secret garden at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Spartans perform "Theater of the Masquerade," at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Downtowners Captain Anthony Stagliano, Jr., gets back up, and the show goes on, after he fell to the floor when his perch atop a giant lion collapsed during their performance of "Master-Pieces," at the Convention Center during the first "Family" show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Captain Jack Hatty Jr., (center) leads Saturnalian as they perform "The Greatest Show on Earth," looking back on the Big Top circuses after the closing of Barnum and Bailey at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Saturnalian perform "The Greatest Show on Earth," at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Luke Paul Polchenko, 18 months old, is escorted back to his mother's seat in the he Convention Center by his uncle Yank Donnelly, after his first appearance with Saturnalian, at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show January 1, 2018. They performed "The Greatest Show onEarth." TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Satin Slipper performs "Pagemaster," a collection of interpretations of classic adventure tales at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Captain Rocco Tursi (center) sings in the rain with Clevemore, as they perform "Lights, Camera, Action!" celebrating classic cinema at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Clevemore performs "Lights, Camera, Action!" celebrating classic cinema at the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Members of the South Philadelphia String Band perform down Broad street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Member of the Avalon String Band saxophone player, Jim Crompton takes a moment to look at his cell phone, before performing down Broad Street in the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Member of the Avalon String Band, Jim Crompton plays the saxophone during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Avalon String Band perform down Broad street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
South Philadelphia fancy brigade walk down Broad Street, minutes after performing in the 18th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Fralinger String Band perform down Broad Street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
The 2nd St. Shooters perform "Sugar N' Spice, But Not So Nice," during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The 2nd St. Shooters perform "Sugar N' Spice, But Not So Nice," during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Shooting Stars perform "Beyond the Stars," inspired by the age-old question: "Are we alone out there?" during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Shooting Stars perform "Beyond the Stars," inspired by the age-old question: "Are we alone out there?" during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The 2nd St. Shooters perform "Sugar N' Spice, But Not So Nice," during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Shooting Stars perform "Beyond the Stars," inspired by the age-old question: "Are we alone out there?" during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Young astronauts are onstage as the Shooting Stars perform "Beyond the Stars," inspired by the age-old question: "Are we alone out there?" during the Mummers Fancy Brigade "Family Show" inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Members of the Two Street Stompers dressed as Eagles cheerleaders perform during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. Mummers strutted at the city's annual New Year's Day parade, under frigid cold temperatures. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Nicole Drescher, left, and Roman Pshenitsyn, right, are all bundeld up to see their first Mummers Parade as they braved the cold to watch the Comics strut down Broad Street on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Cole Lubinsky, 6, presses his face against the school bus window as he and the other small children dressed as wenches for American NYB Comic presentation of The Empire Struts Back at the Mummers Parade, drive down Broad Street to keep warm after they performed in front of the judges at City Hall on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Jerry Murphy, of the 2 Street Strutters Comic Division, center, decided to strut down Broad Street sans jacket or shirt on one of the coldest Mummers Parade ever on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Members of the Jesters Band march down during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. Mummers strutted at the city's annual New Year's Day parade, under frigid cold temperatures. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Musicians Wakeem Johnson, left, from Camden New Jersey, and Ryan Stanbury, right, from Washington New Jersey, perform on Broad Street, during a particularly cold Mummers parade in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Brittany Vaspoli, from Blackwood New Jersey, watches the parade on Broad Street, during a particularly cold Mummers parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Members of the Two Street Stompers perform during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. Mummers strutted at the city's annual New Year's Day parade, under frigid cold temperatures. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Jesters Band march down during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. Mummers strutted at the city's annual New Year's Day parade, under frigid cold temperatures. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Finnegan New Year's Brigade hold political signs as they wait for their turn to perform, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. Mummers strutted at the city's annual New Year's Day parade, under frigid cold temperatures. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Ken Pooler, left, and Jack Mills, right, in costume outside of the Fralinger clubhouse, along 2 Street, prior to the start of the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Lisa Ebeling watches the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
People in the stands bundle up during the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Members of the O'Malley Wench Brigade at the judges stand during the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
The Oregon Wench Brigade performs "It's Getting Chilly in Philly" at the judges stand during the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
The Oregon Wench Brigade performs "It's Getting Chilly in Philly" at the judges stand during the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Ed Cox Jr. is the Glorious Warrior, at the judges stand during the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Jim Wallen, 70, helps with last minute adjustments as the Shooting Stars prepare backstage in the Mummers Fancy Brigade show inside the Convention Center January 1, 2018. Their theme, "Beyond the Stars," asks the age-old question: "Are we alone out there?" TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Bryan Gabriel, left, and Larry Marshall, right, make their way along 2 Street, in preparation for the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Members of the Merrymakers NYB along 2 Street, in preparation for the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Father and son Tom, left, and Gavin Gindville, in costume along 2 Street, prior to the start of the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Matt Basile, from the Fitzwater Wench Brigade carries costumes to the clubhouse along 2 Street, in preparation for the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Members of Froggy Carr Wench Brigade walk to the clubhouse along 2 Street, in Philadelphia, prior to the start of the Mummers Parade, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Members of Froggy Carr Wench Brigade gather in front of the clubhouse along 2 Street, in preparation for the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Matt Snyder, left, sits as Erin Kelly, right, applies his makeup at the Froggy Carr Clubhouse along 2 Street, in preparation for the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Tommy Otis Petronis, a member of Froggy Carr Wench Brigade slips on his golden sneaker in front of the clubhouse along 2 Street, in preparation for the Mummers Parade, in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Greater Overbrook Captain, Bill Razzano performs down Broad street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Fire Chief, Charles Herran, left, struts outside his firehouse, Engine 1 - Ladder 5, with a member of the Greater Overbrook String Band, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Pennsport String Band performs " No Siesta, Mas Fiesta " during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Captain of the Pennsport String Band, Charlie Nicholas performs " No Siesta, Mas Fiesta " during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Aqua String Band perform down Broad street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Aqua String Band perform down Broad street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Captain of Quaker City String Band, Jimmy Good performs down Broad Street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Captain of Quaker City String Band, Jimmy Good performs down Broad Street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the Quaker City String Band perform down Broad street, during the 118th annual Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on Monday, Jan 1, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Jake Kudrick, 11, finishes his dance routine as the Captain of Duffy String band, the youngest captain in history of Mummer String Bands, after his father, Teddy Kudrick, passed away this past year. His father had been Captain and it fell to Jake to take his father’s place. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Captain Joseph Pomante, right, and some of the dancers for Durning String Band come riding in on a locomotive during their performance of “Gear-resistable” on January 1, 2018 in the Mummers Parade. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Dancers from Uptown String Band act as puppeteers as they dance through the performance of “Voodoo Gras” as part of their Mummers Parade presentation on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Captain Nick Magenta of the Polish American String Band, rides in on his trusty steed to start their performance of “True Friends of the Crown” as part of their presentation in the Mummers Parade on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Captain Carmen Maniaci Sr. center, dances with other members of the Avalon String Band during their performance of “Figments of Our Fabrication” during the Mummers Parade on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
With confetti flying Captain Denny Palandro of the South Philadelphia String Band closes out their performance of “West in Peace” atop the skelton of a vulture during the Mummers Parade on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
A dancer dressed as Tinkerbell “flies” during the Joseph A. Ferko String Bands presentation of “We’re off to Neverland” in the Mummers Parade on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Captain Thomas D’Amore of Ferko String Band makes a grand entrance as Captain Hook in their performance of “We’re off to Neverland” during the Mummers Parade on January 1, 2018. MICHAEL BRYANT/ Staff Photographer
Photo Gallery: Mummers march in the bitter cold to ring in 2018

At 10:30 a.m., only the hardiest of fans — most bundled up with heavy coats, gloves, hats and scarves — were out cheering on the groups in the Comics Division as they marched from City Hall down Broad Street with “feels like” temperatures that only reached into the single digits. There were plenty of empty seats at City Hall and in front of the Union League, where benches had been set up.

The street gave clues of the cold, too: At the staging area along Market Street, discarded hand warmers and their wrappers lined the gutters along with confetti, empty beer cans, the occasional lost glove, and spots of (frozen) spilled hot chocolate and spit.

Brittany Vaspoli, from Blackwood, N.J., watches the parade on Broad Street. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

Inside the Kimmel Center, one of the designated warming centers, it was a different story, as parents chased toddlers around in the warmth, and the hot chocolate flowed.

Karsten and Catherine Roberts and their daughter, Porter, 6, recently moved to South Philadelphia from San Francisco and decided to watch the parade from the Kimmel Center.

“Because it’s 10 degrees outside,” said Karsten Roberts.

The center offered a “family friendly” way, they said, to catch the parade.

“We wanted to get integrated into Philadelphia life, and this seemed a very important part of it,” said Catherine Roberts. “All kids love a parade, right?”

Plenty of seats in front of the Union League for the 2018 #MummersParade pic.twitter.com/S9S3c5uL0z

B.J. Collings, 39, and Bill Shallock, 41, marched with the Froggy Carr brigade before heading into the Kimmel dressed in layers.

The lack of crowds, which they partially blamed on the city’s changing the routes and the cold, was a morale-killer, they said.

“When it’s a nice year, the crowds come out in droves,” Shallock said.

Frank Collision, 71, of Yardley, came with his wife, Linda, 68, to mark the New Year: “We decided to make a day of it,” he said.

The two, who are members of the Academy of Music and came to eat brunch at the Kimmel, watched from inside. He planned to poke his head out, but Linda was adamant about staying inside.

“I didn’t even want to walk the two blocks,” she said.

Temperatures may have kept the Mummer’s Parade crowds from gathering outside but inside the Kimmel Center it was standing room only by the windows. #MummersParade pic.twitter.com/J3nRjhMZtZ

Crowds along Broad Street, where the stench of cigars filled the air, picked up before noon. Most everyone carried a coffee-type cup with a steaming beverage.

At the Starbucks at 16th and Market Streets, Naima Passe, 23, of North Philadelphia, was trying to find thermal clothing for her younger brothers. She had ventured into Center City unaware of the parade or that most stores were closed.

“I’m not 100 percent sure what [the parade] is about,” said Passe. She questioned why it was still going on considering the parade’s history regarding race, she said.

“And they are also carrying signs supporting Trump,” she said. “It’s not for me.”

As for the weather, Passe planned to use Uber to avoid the cold and head off to shop, she said.

Best seats in the house go to Michael McLaughlin and Angelica Gutierrez, who ended up warm, with a view of the Dilworth ice rink and the live stream of the 2018 Mummer’s Parade. pic.twitter.com/kSC2XeS78E

Inside the Rothman Institute warming tent in Dilworth Park, Michael McLaughlin, 50, and his fiance, Angelica Gutierrez, 31, both of Media, had braved the cold for a while before taking refuge — and found a way to beat the weather and get the best seats in the house. As they waited for their lunch, they had a perfect view of the skaters on the ice rink and the parade on a nearby television.

The two had locked in their hotel reservations in the spring. “We weren’t anticipating the weather,” McLaughlin said.

For Gutierrez, originally from Peru, it was her first Mummers Parade. McLaughlin had been to a number of past parades and put Monday’s attendance at about one-third of previous crowds.

“It’s a shame. You are at the mercy of Mother Nature on this,” he said.

Members of the Fralinger String Band perform down Broad Street.

In one of the warming buses set up for the Mummers, Jack Christy, 80, a banjo player with Duffy String Band for 42 years, couldn’t recall a colder parade.

“It’s hard for the horns, because they freeze up,” he said. “Doesn’t bother us banjo players, but it is a little cold on the fingers.”

Christy, who retired as a firefighter after 37 years, hoped the band would march until they reached the fire station at Broad and South Street, but he knew that would depend on the crowds.

“People might be frozen by the time we get there,” Christy said. “It’s no fun playing for nobody.”

Mari A. Schaefer, STAFF WRITER

Read full story: For Mummers, only the hardiest of fans brave cold

More Coverage:

Your ultimate guide to the 2018 Mummers Parade

Comeback strut: Mummer from South Jersey is returning after a health scare

Gallery Mummers march in the bitter cold to ring in 2018

Why Santino's Dragons is the most inspiring thing you'll see at Philly's Mummer's Parade