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The Day After

Mummers put in $150K for cleanup

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    PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 1: A member of the Liberty Comic Club dressed as a wench participates in the 103rd New Year's Day Mummer's Parade January 1, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The daylong parade features four divisions of Comics, Fancy Clubs, Fancy Brigades, and String Bands. The clubs develop a theme, create costumes, build sets and props, and choreograph musical and dance numbers while competing for $386,000 in prizes. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

    Thousands of Philadelphians came together on New Year's Day for the 100th Annual Mummer's Parade and, sure, maybe there weren't as many people out as last year, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the streets of the city.

    Work crews have started picking up party favors and taking apart bleachers up and down Broad Street, from City Hall to South Street.

    About 15,000 people participated in this year's parade, which is sometimes described as Philadelphia's Mardi Gras and had almost been cancelled due to the weather and money-related woes. 

    But after the Mummers agreed to pay the city $150,000 toward police, street cleanup and other expenses -- leaving the city with about a $40,000 tab -- and the threat of rain passed, it was all marching ahead for parade participants and goers.

     

     Despite the good weather, onlookers and vendors said the crowd was lighter than normal, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

    Joe Gaeta, a South Philadelphian who told the newspaper that he has been coming to the event for years, blamed the decline in financial support from the city, which charged the Mummers for police and sanitation workers who would not otherwise be working.

    "It seems like they should be doing more to help these guys," Gaeta, 49, said.

     

    The reason, he said: What's good for the Mummers is good for the city.

    "It's something that goes on for generations and generations," he said. "It should remain that way till the end of the world."

    There might be another, more frivolous reason to keep the parade going, though. As Audubon resident William Snyder told the NJ Courier Post, "I just don't think people know what it's about until they get here and see how much fun they can have."

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