‘Has Anyone Seen My Tutu?’
When the Hummers march, the satire flies. So skip the Mummers this year. When it comes to New Year’s fun, Philly has nothing on Middletown.
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“I find the wit and satire to be acerbic,” one onlooker says.
The proper use of acerbic is a sign that this is no ordinary January 1 parade.
There is never a doubt that, weather and the Good Lord willing, Philly’s musical Mummers will strut down Broad Street dressed in fancy feathered costumes,
executing perfectly choreographed routines as each group competes for top honors.
But with Middletown’s ragtag Hummers, one never quite knows what will happen.
Indeed, there has been a year or two when no one was sure the parade would happen at all.
But it did, as it always does. And unlike those well-rehearsed fops in Philly, Hummers
cycled, skated, drove and sometimes stumbled down Broad and Main, dressed in everything from hunting camos to tutus, executing some cockamamie idea dreamt up five
minutes before the parade while vying for nothing more than a damned good time.
What started decades ago as neighbors banging pots and pans in the street to ring in the year has morphed into something as uniquely Delawarean as the much younger Punkin Chunkin’. Hummers participants gather in a parking lot on New Year’s morning, don their costumes, such as they are, prepare their floats, such as they are, then proceed down the street. What will happen is anyone’s guess, but it will almost certainly involve several spoofs on the previous year’s most infamous news.
“We kind of have a rule that we don’t start thinking about what we’re going to do for the parade until midnight of New Year’s Eve,” third-year participant John Snyder says of his family’s preparations. Like many Hummers, the Snyders had been spectators for a few years before deciding to jump in with both feet.
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