Would Mayor Gym kill the Mummers Parade?

If you are a Mummer or a fan of the Mummers, you might want to know that a Mayor Gym would likely spell the end of the 123-year-old parade, whose roots go back two centuries before that.

What makes me think so? This tweet that she shot out after the 2020 parade.

To be fair, it doesn’t say she will end the parade, but it doesn’t take much perception to read between the lines.

Try to decipher this passage: The parade “must be deserving of the thousands of residents who want a celebration of our city and its folk traditions.”

The parade is the oldest and largest folk celebration in the United States. Its very existence is a folk tradition. As such, it celebrates our city, which is its unique home. 

Maybe if Gym were an native Philadelphian, she would know that. 

Then, comes this: “The Mummers must change and evolve — or its parade on Broad St. should end.”


To what?

Does Gym not understand the medium is the message, that “changing” from banjos to electric guitars, as an example, would change the very nature of the Mummers sound? I’m not saying no tradition ever changes but change must be minimal and evolutionary, and not attack the root of the parade, which started as mimickry. The String Bands, which are now the heart of the parade came later, through evolution.

When Gym calls upon the Mummers to “evolve,” what does she mean?

To defend the Mummers of the 21st Century is not to deny some past practices that were racist, or exclusionary.

In the earlier parades in the 20th Century, there were African-American String Bands, but they did not get a fair shake from judges. In some divisions, notably the Comics, blackface was permitted, until it was banned in 1964 — almost 60 years ago. 

Despite it being prohibited, every few years one or two people would smudge their faces, and, when discovered, bring shame down upon the other  25,000 people involved in the parade. Critics would call the parade “racist.”

That makes as much sense as wanting to ban baseball because one or two players have bet on the game or tried to fix a game. 

The same thing for homophobia, a truly ridiculous charge because gay people have been involved in the parade forever, especially in music orchestration, choreography and costuming.

And for decades women were kept off the street, confined to support roles. But that ban melted in the ‘70s, if not earlier.

So the parade has changed, and it has evolved. So what is Gym talking about? 

Outside groups have long been welcome to march in the Comic Division, which has hosted everything from clog dancers to drag queens to drum lines to high steppers to calypso and Latino bands.

One thing I’m sure of — no change would satisfy Gym.

Jackass Kenney — himself once a Mummer — became the first mayor not to symbolically march at the head of the String Bands.

Mayor Gym would be the first mayor to cancel the parade.

28 thoughts on “Would Mayor Gym kill the Mummers Parade?”

      1. I’m afraid that you just nailed that one. I pray that you didn’t, but apathy is growing among voters.

    1. Youve got to be kidding. A) polls are not wrong unless you are frank rizzo or trump in 16. Of the last 4 polls 2 had her winning, one had her tied for second and the earliest one had her third.
      Meanwhile brown has had 4 straight polls at 11% ,11% 9% and 10% and all his supporters say ” every poll is wrong ” . And even domb is at 13 % 13% 14% and 13% . Come election day, if all brown vorters and lots of domb voters dont abandon their candidates and dont vote for parker or Rhinehart then gym WILL be elected. There is no doubt about that . Having 4 moderates run against 1 progressive makes it a mathematical impossibilty for the progressive not to win if the non progressive vote is split evenly among the 4 non progressives .
      You need to get reality, polls are not wrong

  1. Very interesting comments Stu. You are very correct As to the changes that have occurred over the years. Everyone knows the Mummers Parade and it’s tradition. Maybe since Covid the numbers have come down but Mayor Kenney has done nothing to help. I don’t think Gym has enough votes to get into office, but again, dead people have voted in the past

  2. Never liked the Mummers and never will. My brother-in-law lived nearby and would flee the neighborhood every year to get away from it. But as long as I don’t have to see it or be involved, by all means have at it, this being America and all.

      1. Operas are not held in the streets with city having to provide additional police and cleaning crews.

        1. Then should we cancel every celebration in Philadelphia, just because someone doesn’t like it? No Phillies, Eagles, or any sports celebrations? No Chinese New Year? Nothing? Because that’s what you are going to get, NOTHING!

          1. Especially when it comes to sports celebrations. Jeff Lurie is worth 4.4 Billion and the Eagles generated 3.4 million in revenue. Why are we spending tax dollars on a parade that they can finance themselves?

        2. My comment addressed a principle. The city bears the costs of all civic celebrations — such as every ethnic parade, not to mention the rare sports victories and political rallies.
          Each parade brings $$$$ into the city.

          1. How much does the Mummers reimburse the city, directly, for the cost of the parade?

  3. Stu, Congrats, best GOTV message to defeat Gym and her vision to send Philly into a disastrous tail spin; let alone get us out of the current downward spiral. Should help any remaining “Undecided” voters; or, better yet, motivate the lackluster stay at home voters. Gym’s opponents should have their people at the polling places playing “Golden Slippers”!

  4. The Parade will have to be renamed the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Parade. The new names for string bands will be the Trans-Acceptance String Band, The Non-Carbon Fingerprint Band, Tax the Rich Band, End Charter School Band, Attack Anyone who Criticizes Me Band. Last but not least the, I am Smarter than everyone Else Band. God help us if she wins. She is a carpetbagger from Seattle.

    1. You made me LOL — and I am NOT an easy audience. May I add End [fill in the blank] racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, poverty, sexism, mathematics, test scores, competency, patriarchy, transphobia, anti-semitism, Republicans. And so on

  5. I am no longer a resident or business owner but if Gym wins, the 76ers can kiss their dream of a downtown complex, good-bye.

  6. Nice find, that old tweet by Gym, Stu. Even progressive Pasadena, located in a state run like a satellite of the old Soviet Union, would never dream of cancelling the Rose Parade. Cancel the Mummers? I’m not a fan of the Mummers, but it is pure Fluffya.

  7. I think Gym would make a fabulous mayor. I’ll go so far as to say she’ll be another Lori Lightfoot. Look how well things went in Chicago when she was “mare.” Oh, wait…never mind…

  8. Do we still really believe polling data? I stopped believing in 2016 around 3am the day after Election Day when ALL the pollsters were still predicting President Hillary Clinton’s victory.

Comments are closed.