Mummers Parade 2020: Philly’s New Year tradition brings the party to the streets

Two people wore blackface, marring some of the enjoyment for everyone else.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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For the 120th time, hundreds of Philadelphians woke up early on New Year’s Day, donned costumes they’d worked on for months, and gathered in Center City for a strut down Broad Street.

Officially sanctioned by the city since 1901, the Mummers Parade is considered the longest-running folk festival in the country.

Though its origins are mired in minstrelry and misogyny — and though racist, homophobic and sexist memes still manage to find their way into the event — Philly leaders have been making a serious effort in recent years to reform the celebration from the inside out.

New troupes based on classic Philly drumlines have joined the march, and several clubs led by younger, progressive folks put on skits that take on biased traditions and local government failures. This year saw the Lobster Club do a piece called “The Property Tax Price Is Right.”

But despite clear warnings from the parade director, there were two people spotted in blackface this time around. Per a tweet from Mayor Jim Kenney, the entire affiliated troupe (Froggy Carr) has been disqualified, and additional repercussions may follow.

CBS3 caught up with the offending members of Froggy Carr and directly posed the question: Why blackface?

“Cause I like it,” one of them said, continuing with thinly-veiled indigence at being called out for the act: “Yeah, why not? I know it’s a shame to be white in Philly right now. It’s a shame.”

Most of the costumes were colorful and fun and totally nonoffensive. The parade also featured a dedicated anti-Trump performance.

Scroll down for a look at some of the best moments from the 2020 Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Some Mummers carry a parasol, others a Christmas tree.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Awareness cone costume stealing the show.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

City Hall makes a great backdrop.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

That little one is hanging on for dear life.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Those costumes have lots of detail.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Who ya gonna call?

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Indoctrinating new generations to the Abbott and Costello oeuvre.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Nice matching Gritty crochet.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Prohibition theme is a great excuse to drink beer on the street.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Emperor of South Broad Street.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Many men take the parade as an opportunity to dress in drag.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Quid pro quo in lively, life-sized form.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

There’s the pun.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Ready to make music.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

If you’ve never been a spectator, you might not realize how much the crowd gets into it.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

And sometimes comes away with prizes.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Thanks to the music each troupe marches to, the dancing is infectious.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Go Sixers?

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Go…pterodactyls?

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Happy and healthy 2020 to all.

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Tagged

Mummers, Parades