- Conceptualized & Produced Parade
- Venue: Main Street Manayunk
- Years: 2014 – 2018
- Avg Attendance: 15k
- Fun Fact: The event has raised $75k for the Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association and given some Manayunk businesses their best day ever!
Since 2014, ADVENT has removed the barriers keeping you from strutting alongside your favorite string bands during and after the Main Street Manayunk parade.
Mummers Mardi Gras was born in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia in 2014 as a 21 and over festival at The Schmidt’s Commons. The inaugural event featured four string bands, vendors and cover band Split Decision playing throughout the day.
The festival was a hit, celebrating one of the city’s oldest folk traditions. But the adults-only event missed one vital component – families.
For more than 116 years, the Mummers tradition has carried on with support of families and Philadelphia neighborhoods. Children grew up watching their parents perform, wanting to fill their shoes. The survival of Philadelphia’s heritage is paramount to ADVENT.
ADVENT reinvented the festival in 2015 with a family-friendly focus in mind. Mummers Mardi Gras was relocated to Main Street in Manayunk, allowing for more string bands to participate, and opened the festival to Mummers fans of all ages.
Working with the Manayunk Development Corporation and Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association, ADVENT built an annual February parade and after party that is quickly becoming as beloved as the century-old New Year’s Day Mummers Parade on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia.
The party starts on Main Street with a two-hour parade spanning just eight, easy-to-walk blocks in Manayunk. The march between Carson Street and Shurs Lane offers spectators an intimate romp with plumed captains and the Philadelphia area’s talented sequined musicians.
Bands play the entirety of the parade route, but perform special serenades at three performance locations along the way. The second stop – at Cotton Street – is the Performance Promenade and the main viewing area where bands are announced to crowds lining the street.
The party continues after the parade as Manayunk establishments become mummers string bands’ satellite clubhouses, bringing Second Street to Main Street. Each of the 16 bands is paired with a restaurant where marching Mummers can join their families for a pint and a meal after the half-mile Main Street strut.
Bands put on special, intimate performances inside their temporary clubhouses, encouraging fans to strut their hardest right along with them. Past “clubhouses” have included Mad River Bar & Grille, Manayunk Brewing Company, Bourbon Blue, J.D. McGillicuddy’s, Craft and Castle Roxx.
The growing event drew over 5,000 attendees in 2015 and more than 15,000 people in 2016 and 2017. The increased foot traffic is a boon for Main Street businesses, happy to support the Mummers and their families.
The festival is a labor of love for ADVENT staff, working for months to organize the parade and raise funds to support the string bands financially.
Philadelphia Mummers string bands raise money all year long to fund the costuming and props for a single, four-minute performance in front of the judges at Philadelphia City Hall on New Year’s Day. Performances cost bands tens of thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of rehearsal and building props by hand.
Mummers Mardi Gras’ first year in Manayunk, ADVENT committed $16,000 to the string bands, insuring each of the 16 bands performing in the parade down Main Street would receive $1,000 to support the growing expense to put on New Year’s Day shows.
Over four years, Mummers Mardi Gras has raised more than $75,000 for string bands and the Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association. Funds are raised through sponsorships, local business donations, and the Bucket Brigade, a team of volunteers marching alongside Mummers during the parade. The brigade, carrying buckets, collects donations in exchange for Mardi Gras beads.
From a couple dimes to a couple dollars, parade-goers dropping donations into the buckets make a major contribution to funds raised to support Mummers. Each year, the Bucket Brigade is responsible for collecting several thousand dollars.
The Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund, established by Congressman Bob Brady in 2009, is a non-profit organization supporting 10 “ethnic” parades in Philadelphia, including the Mummers, Greek, Gay Pride and St. Patrick’s Day festivals. Brady marched in the first Philadelphia Mummers Mardi Gras Parade in 2015, serving as one of the parade’s grand marshals. Through Traditions Fund donations, Brady continues to support the Mummers Mardi Gras in Manayunk annually.
The 2018 Philadelphia Mummers Mardi Gras Parade in Manayunk will be held Sunday, February 25th. The parade will be held between 1 and 3 p.m.. After parties will be held at restaurants throughout Manayunk immediately after the parade.
At the upcoming event, Mad River Manayunk will be the official Mummers Headquarters with a 3,000 square foot heated tent and stage in their parking lot. A food tent sponsored by Corropolese Bakery will unveil a special tomato pie topping for the 2018 event – grated cheese shaped like the Philadelphia Mummers Mardi Gras logo.
For more information, please visit www.MummersMardiGras.com