The Fancy Brigades, Wench Brigades, and String Bands are heading to the baseball stadium! As a yearly tribute to Philadelphia, the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, a minor league affiliate of the Phillies, will play at least one game this season as the Mummers.
The nickname is a tribute to a New Year’s parade in Philadelphia dating back to 1901. The tradition, a spectacle I enjoyed watching on TV every year as a child with my grandmother, showcases locals taking on roles they might hold on any other day of the year—plumber, electrician, firefighter—and dressing in elaborate costumes to perform intricately rehearsed dance and music routines.
Mummers may also show up in other places—I’ve come across brigades on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey in the summer, and Jason Kelce famously dressed as a Mummer during the Eagles‘ Super Bowl parade in 2018—but their main showcase is a 1.5-mile route along Broad Street in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day.
The IronPigs Salute to Philly uniforms pay tribute to the vibrant colors of the Mummers costumes—specifically the Fancies or members of the Fancy Brigade. The logo features a dancing figure in costume and headgear, and the stylized text is adorned with feathers reminiscent of those found on the costumes.
Allentown, Pennsylvania, the home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, is located about an hour north of Philadelphia.