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The country’s oldest folk parade returned Sunday, with colorful costumes brightening sidewalks below overcast skies as the Mummers strutted down Broad Street.
Elaborate performances took place inside the Pa. Convention Center on New Year’s Day as planned, but rain postponed the outdoor portion of the event to Jan. 2, as has happened before in its 120-year history.
More than 10,000 participants are thought to march in the annual event, which was canceled entirely last year because of the pandemic. City officials said they didn’t even discuss canceling this year.
Some of the brigades spend thousands of dollars and hours of labor on elaborate outfits, while others just pull on pre-made matching dresses. It’s the latter groups that often cause the controversies for which the parade has become internationally infamous.
Satire and political commentary are part of the Mummers tradition, and troupes that don’t play instruments either perform skits or carry signs to get their messages across. This year, that included jabs at Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and DA Larry Krasner, as well as flags supporting former President Donald Trump.
City government doesn’t officially run the parade, but it does spend over $300,000 on services like security and cleanup (that’s down from $1 million spent in the past).
In recent years there have been efforts to make the parade more inclusive. In addition to a review of any costumes or skits before they happen, the city has helped create new troupes that celebrate a diverse array of heritages.
Scroll down for a look at scenes and sights from the 2022 Mummers Parade.