Fifteen Philadelphia-area Mummers groups will strut down Haddon Avenue in a day of celebration at the end of the month. Officials describe the event as a boost to businesses along the economic corridor.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 4, 2023
UPDATE (April 28, 2023 – 11 a.m.): Due to an ominous weather forecast for April 29, the String Band Parade on Haddon Avenue has been rescheduled for October 21, according to Camden County officials.
“We took Dad Vail from Philly,” Camden County Commissioner-Director Lou Cappelli said.
“Maybe New Year’s Day things will come here as well.”
Cappelli was making a joke, of course — sort of.
His remarks were delivered from a parking lot at the Westmont PATCO Speedline station Tuesday afternoon, as the governments of Camden County, Haddonfield, and Haddon Township gathered to announce a string band parade planned for April 29.
On that date, 15 Philadelphia String Band Association groups will parade down Haddon Avenue, from Euclid Avenue (the Haddonfield Speedline stop) to Haddon Square in Westmont (51 Haddon Avenue).
They will perform from 2 to 4 p.m. on that day, with three as-yet-unannounced performance area stops along the route, and then conclude the evening by stopping at various businesses along Haddon Avenue (mostly bars and restaurants in Haddon Township) to play until 11 p.m.
The event is designed as an attraction to capitalize on spring weather and locals’ love of community gathering, but it’s also intended to help drive foot traffic from across the Delaware with a recognizable symbol of Philadelphia culture.
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Much like the county government poached the Dad Vail Regatta from the Schuylkill River to Cooper River Park, officials see the Mummers as another opportunity to attract visitors to the Haddon Avenue commercial corridor.
“When you piggyback this event on those events, we’re talking about thousands of people,” Cappelli said. “This will help give a nice jump to the economy locally.”
“This is an economic driver for our communities,” Haddonfield Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich said. “We’re asking people from Philly to come across the bridge; to come to South Jersey.
“When our neighborhoods do well, our communities do well,” she said.
Haddon Township Mayor Randy Teague noted that the parade “is the first time we’ve had an event with three govenrmental entities partnering.
“In the past, it was Camden County going to Philly,” Teague said.
“Now, Philadelphia is coming to Camden County.
“We have people coming from all over,” he said.
“They see what we have, and the come back.”
Quaker City String Band Drillmaster Charlie Roetz of Gloucester City said the Mummers “chose Jersey for the partnership,” from the opportunity to offer family-friendly entertainment, to visiting “this great walking district” of Haddon Avenue.
“Hopefully it will be something big that we can bring around and grow throughout the years,” Roetz said.
Ten different Haddon Avenue businesses have joined the event as title or performance sponsors. Among them was the PJW restaurant group, whose director of operations, Mike Perro, described the string bands as “part of the culture of the Delaware Valley.
“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement building about this parade already, Perro said. “We’re really looking forward to it. You can’t imagine how much.”
Participating string bands include:
- Greater Kensington
- Polish American
- Quaker City
- South Philadelphia
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