You have sequins, feathers, makeup, wigs, glitter and choregraphy, can it get any more gayer? Of course, it is not really gay, just a Philadelphia tradition. Every year on New Years Day, clubs from the different neighborhoods of Philadelphia and the surrounding area put on one of the most colorful and lively events you can find. The Parade has changed much in the time I have been watching it, over 40 years now. Way back when, it had three different divisions; the Comics, which were closer to New Orleans tradition of Mummery; the Fancy division, more thematic with canned music; and the String Bands, the real star of the day, with big productions and live instruments playing as they march down Broad Street. At some point, the Fancy Brigades stopped making the march, and instead are presented at an indoor arena for competition. There was a time no that long ago, much like Elizabethan theater, women were not allowed to perform, so if there was a female role needed to be filled, it was a man who stepped up to strut down Broad Street in drag. Oh, the spectacle of it all.
Comic Division (2009)
Golden Crown Fancy Brigade (2001)
Fralinger String Band (1987)
Ferko String Band (1989)