Gaily ringing in Philadelphia's New Year

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 12 2007 1:00 AM ET

If we had to draw
a comparison, Philadelphia's annual Mummers Parade
would be a little like Pride, a Harlem Drag Ball and the
Greenwich Village Halloween Parade all rolled into
one. Drawing almost 12,000 LGBT and gay-friendly
devotees, the 106-year-old tradition ranks as one of the
city's biggest (unofficial) gay events of the year.
Considering that it kicks off at 8 a.m. on New Year's
Day with many revelers coming directly from New Year's
Eve festivities, that's no mean feat. "By noon, the
gayborhood bars a block from the parade route are already
packed," says Jeff Guarancino, Philadelphia's LGBT
tourism expert. "From South Philly to City Hall," he
adds, "there are men in the streets wearing costumes
of sequins, boas, feathers and wigs -- many of whom are
not gay at all!" Having almost $35,000 in costume prize
money doesn't hurt, but true to Philadelphia's
"brotherly love" motto, the Mummers Parade isn't about
winning or competition. Many of the elaborate
ensembles cost more than the wildest earnings, running into
the thousands and taking months to construct. If you
haven't made New Year's plans yet, also consider this
-- Philadelphia boasts some of the gay-friendliest
luxury hotels this side of Oz.