Taking in all the sights, sounds and culture our City of Brotherly Love has to offer is nearly impossible to do in less than a week; but have no fear, as we gear up to the conference I will be posting a series of “Guess what I did” must-do’s to check out while you’re visiting. Guess what I did – Danced the Mummer’s Strut
One of the many traditions in Philadelphia falls on New Year’s Day with over 15,000 local Comics, Fancies, Fancy Brigades and String Band members parading down Broad Street in elaborate handmade costumes covered in sequins and feathers to celebrate the New Year. The Philadelphia Mummers Day Parade officially started in 1901 and has continued to be a favorite festivity for many Philadelphia family generations and visitors.The good news is Mummers don’t only come out on New Year’s Day. PRSA is bringing the Hegeman String Band to you at the Meet the Exhibitors Reception Sunday night. Be prepared for Captain John Barron to teach you the Mummer’s strut while you’re listening to unique sounds of the mummers, including the famous Mummer’s tune, “Oh! Dem Golden Slippers.” Get ready to join the band with a little practice before Sunday night. To do the strut raise your right hand with your index finger in the air, stick out your butt and rock back and forth on your feet.
If you just can’t get enough of Mummers go down to 2nd Street in South Philadelphia to get a glimpse of the mummers practicing for New Years, as it is officially “Mum Season”, visit the Mummers museum on 2nd and Washington Street and of course, come back January 1st to show off your new moves.
Guess what I did – Ran Up the Rocky Steps
At the end of the Ben Franklin Parkway, a short walk from the Marriot, you’ll see the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in the United States. Currently the museum has more than 18 exhibitions, including some of the finest American paintings and furniture, European masterpieces, a 13th-century Japanese teahouse, a Hindu Temple Hall and much more. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for students and on Sunday it’s pay what you wish.
The museum isn’t only famous for its magnificent art; many citywide events take place at the museum and on the 97 front steps, including the Live8 concert in 2005. When you’re approaching the museum there might be people running up and down the steps. Put on your running shoes and join them in mimicking the famous scene in the film Rocky when Sylvester Stallone runs up the steps and raises his arms in triumph, representing the ability of an underdog to rise to the occasion. After you catch your breath, take a picture with the Rocky statue located at the bottom right of the steps.
Guess what I did – Experienced the American Revolution
When the sun goes down, the City of Philadelphia turns up the lights. From the office buildings in Center City, to charming boat house row along the river, to the truly unique Lights of Liberty show – a show you don’t want to miss. This sensory experience is the first ambulatory sound and light show of its kind in the world where visitors can experience the American Revolution, as it happened, where it happed, through state-of-the-art technology.
The story of the independence is told through beautiful hand painted images that are projected up to 50 feet high onto the buildings where the events actually took place over 230 years ago. Also, the music you’ll hear was composed specifically for the Show by The Philadelphia Orchestra.
While you’re in town, grab your sweatshirt and head down to Olde City at 4th and Chestnut for this unforgettable journey through Independence National History Park. The Lights of Liberty Show is playing Saturday night, at various times beginning at 7 p.m.
By Sarah Lindsay, PRSA 2007 International Conference Host Hospitality committee member
I challenge you to the Mummers Strut!