PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Move over, Thanksgiving — a new holiday parade is comin’ to town.
Philadelphia officials announced on Thursday the creation of a new seasonal celebration. The Holiday Parade will take place the evening of Dec. 4 along East Market Street.
It will travel from Second Street to City Hall and feature balloons, marching bands, and Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, and Christmas floats.
Mayor Jim Kenney said the pandemic has been challenging enough, and it’s time to celebrate the holidays with each other.
“It’s time to have some fun,” he said. “It’s time to get back to what we’re used to and the spirit of the holidays. … It is Christmas, but every ethnic, racial and religious group can get around this holiday [parade] and celebrate the fact that we are alive.”
As a perk, you can warm up at the starting line with a free Wawa hot chocolate, plus other giveaways.
The city’s Christmas tree lighting will also return to the North Apron of City Hall on Dec. 2, featuring a 45-foot concolor fir from a farm in upstate New York.
The Mummers Parade will, as expected, usher in 2022, as well as a new element: New Year’s Day daytime fireworks.
Mummers submitted a permit to the city’s Office of Special Events for the 2022 parade. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation will provide logistical support.
Kenney said as far as he knows, the Mummers Parade is on.
“It’s going to be more of a parade run by the actual people that are in it, as the other parades in the city are,” he said. “The only thing I would ask them to do is take into consideration other people’s feelings and other people’s issues relative to how they perform.”
The Mummers Parade has faced sharp criticism and outrage in recent years due to racist costumes and signs by participants.
“For the vast majority of the Mummers Parade — I was in it for 35 years — are terrific, talented people,” Kenney continued. “There is always a handful of knuckleheads that decide that they want to make some kind of crazy statement. I would ask them not to do that. It’s not in the best interest for the future of the parade.”
Bad actors aside, Kenney is excited for the possibility of a new Philly tradition.
“I have three more Christmases left [in my term] and I’m hoping it becomes a continued holiday experience after I’m gone, and I’m looking forward to it.”
For more Philly Holiday Experience events and activities, click here.