Call me Captain Curmudgeon, but I don’t love a parade. Mostly, I think they’re boring. But that’s probably because when I think of the word “parade” I think of the Macy’s Thanksgiving one or, because I’m in Los Angeles, the Tournament of Roses one. I’ve watched both several times and, as a closed captioner for the hearing-impaired, have had to caption both a few times. I just don’t understand where the fun is in watching the floats go by. But today, I had to caption a very different animal– The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.
The video above is the Woodland String Band’s 1st place performance in the string band category. Unlike other parades, it’s not boring. First, it’s a string band with real banjos! Second, it seems more in the spirit of Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Third, it’s not just a bunch of boring old floats rolling by.
The Mummers Parade has been an institution in the city of brotherly love for more than a hundred years, with its roots stretching back to the 17th Century. Mummers combines elements of the area’s Scandinavian, German, Irish and African settlers’ winter festivals. The costumes, the choreography, the props and the music are all top notch. The participants work year-round on their routines and the hard work shows.
I liked the Avalon String Band’s 7th place Alice In Wonderland theme, though I’m still waiting for a couple of my favorite performances (South Philadelphia, Quaker City, and Greater Kensington) to appear over on the youtubes to that I can watch them without being distracted by having to caption the commentators.