The Fancy Brigades, Wench Brigades, and String Bands are making their way to the ballpark! In their annual salute to Philadelphia, the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, a Phillies affiliate, will play as the Mummers for at least one game this season.
The nickname is a tribute to a New Years Day parade in Philadelphia that dates back to 1901. The tradition—a spectacle that I enjoyed on TV every year as a kid with my grandmother—features locals who on the other 364 days of the year might be plumbers, electricians, or firefighters, donning elaborate costumes and performing dance and musical numbers that have been rehearsed year-round.
Mummers may pop up in other places—I’ve happened across brigades in the summertime on the boardwalks of Ocean City, New Jersey, and Jason Kelce famously dressed as a Mummer during the Eagles Super Bowl parade in 2018—but their main showcase is a 1.5-mile route along Broad Street in Philadelphia on New Years Day.
The IronPigs Salute to Philly uniforms evoke the bright colors featured in costumes worn by the Mummers—especially the Fancies, or members of the Fancy Brigade. The logo features a dancing character in a costume and headdress, and stylized type is adorned with feathers typical of the costumes.
Allentown, Pennsylvania, home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, is about an hour north of Philadelphia.