Saturday, I took a break from writing and my sister and I walked over the newly constructed bridge to Manayunk to watch the Mummers Mardi Gras Parade.
Until I visited Philly, I had never heard of a Mummer.
Then I read an article in the newspaper and knew I had to see them. Last year, my partner and I watched the Treme series on DVD and became hooked on all things Mardi Gras related.
Yet, I was conflicted. The Mummers had behaved poorly at the annual Broad Street New Year’s parade here in Philly. That parade is known for being wild, and for drinking and partying, and some of the Mummer comics had made anti-gay jokes while others browned their faces for a Mexican dance number.
So totally not cool, guys.
According to a news article, the bad eggs had been kicked out the group and/or reprimanded, and this year’s Mardi Gras Parade was promised to be family friendly.
And it was very family friendly. It was also a blast. Imagine burly blue-collar working guys decked out in pink feathers, fluff and costumes that flowed and twirled. Others dressed as trees and skeletons and marched down the street playing instruments.
There were traditional Mardi Gras beads, and you didn’t have to show your boobs to get a strand, either. All you needed to do was slip a dollar in one of the donation buckets and presto, a strand of cheap, shiny beads appeared around your neck.
Mummers danced with kids and old ladies and tough-looking men with tattoos. There was music (very, very loud music) and clapping and cheers, and babies sat on their father’s shoulders and confetti flew through the air and everyone smiled, and some people sang along in boisterous, off-keyed voices, and no one cared.It was just that kind of day.
Still, maybe it was the knowledge that some of the members had made racist gestures and anti-gay comments that caused me to notice that the majority of the Mummers were white, and that there were very few women, too.
Hopefully, the Mummers will get with the program and include more diversity in their flock.
Aside from that, they put on a damned fine parade.