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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Polish American String Band in 1993 Mummers Parade
Polish American String Band, 1993 Mummers Parade: "Come Join the Circus"

Polish American String Band

Founded in 1933, the Polish American String Band has been entertaining audiences of all ages in the fine tradition of Philadelphia Mummery with its great music -- string band music with a polka sound -- beautiful costumes and award-winning presentations. Its main focus is its appearance in the Philadelphia New Years Day Mummers Parade, but the Band plays throughout the year at various venues to raise monies for its elaborate costumes and other expenses, including performances on St. Patrick's Day, at Richmond's Easter Parade, at Port Richmond's Memorial Day celebration, at the two-day Polish festival held in Atlantic City, at the "Summer Mummers Parade" in Philadelphia, on the 4th of July at various sites, at the "string band weekend" at the New Jersey shore, at the Doylestown, PA, Polish festival, and at the Philadelphia Pulaski Day Parade.

Headquartered in an ethnic neighborhood of Philadelphia, the Polish American String band upholds the Slavic heritage of its members. It has been a consistent prize-winner in the Philadelphia New Year's Day Mummers Parade, placing in the top ten 64 times, winning 11 first prizes and 14 second prizes. Over the years, the band as played at performances throughout the United States, in Havana, Cuba, before Pope John Paul II in 1979 and 1998, and in their ancestral homeland of Poland, playing in Warsaw, Gdynia, Gdansk, Torun, Krakow, and Czestochowa. They have also performed numerous times in pre-game entertainment for the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and 76ers; for Sen. Ted Kennedy's birthday party in Boston; for American Ambassador to Italy Thomas Foglietta in 1998; and for various civic functions at the request of Philadelphia mayors and Pennsylvania governors.

Although the membership is no longer exclusively Polish, their music reflects the Polish heritage. More than ninety members, all volunteers varying in age, background, and occupation, live and work in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania.

The project is documented with two pages of text; an 8-page history of the Band; a roster of Band members as of December 1999; a list of their appearances in the Mummers Parade, with parade themes for each year, beginning in 1935; and eleven 8 x 10 color photographs.

Originally submitted by: Robert A. Borski, Representative (3rd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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