For over 100 years on New Years Day Philadelphia has held the oldest folk festival in the United States called The Mummers Parade.The parade's roots can be traced back to the mid-17th century, blending elements from African, Swedish, Finnish, Irish, English, German, and other European heritages, creating a day long New Year celebration. The parade is directly related to the Mummers Play tradition from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Local groups (usually called "New Years Associations") compete in four categories (comics, fancies, string bands, and fancy brigades). They spend the entire year raising funds and building elaborate costumes and moveable scenery for the one event.
To me the parade is a celebration of folks' creativity and the joys of being human. An opportunity to break out of the safe normalness of life and dance like no one is watching. It's an opportunity to express not just one's creative self but to express the pleasure and joys of everyday life.
At the age of 10 years I attended my first Mummers parade with my father. Just like any child I was fascinated by the costumes and activities of a parade. When my parent wasn't able to take me I would watch it on the local television station. My photographic interest in this event started while attending art school in Pittsburgh. I would head home over the holidays and attend the parade every year. Over the years I have created thousands of images of the parade. I have seen the good, bad and the ugly of the event. All in all these are images of real people being real.