Every January I receive multiple emails, tweets, and messages from people asking about the String Band Show of Shows. The most frequent question I get is “When is the Show of Shows going to be held?”. As most of you know who follow this blog, the String Band Show of Shows quietly ended after the 2013 performance in Atlantic City.
In 2014, a new string band event emerged called Mummers Mardi Gras. Mummers Mardi Gras was first held in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia in 2014 as a 21 and over festival at The Schmidt’s Commons. The inaugural event featured four string bands, vendors and cover band Split Decision playing throughout the day. The Mummers Mardi Gras festival was reinvented in 2015 with a family-friendly focus in mind. Mummers Mardi Gras was relocated to Main Street in Manayunk, allowing for more string bands to participate, and opened the festival to Mummers fans of all ages. For 2018, the Mummers Mardi Gras festival will be an indoor event. The event will be held at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. You can read about the 2018 Mummers Mardi Gras festival and learn how to purchase tickets to the event.
I loved going to the Show of Shows as a kid and I’m still bummed it’s not being held anymore. It was a lot of fun going backstage at the Philadelphia Civic Center and most recently the Atlantic City Convention Center to see the bands warm up and play music in the pit before they went out on the stage and performed for the audience. I feel that the new Mummers Mardi Gras festival in South Philly will be trying to capture the spirit of the Show of Shows. I hope it’s a success.
Looking around online, I found some great videos from the old Show of Shows. Share your Show of Shows memories in the comments section below.
Thank you for this! I miss going to the convention center with my dad (who passed years ago) He always took me downstairs to meet the clubs and get pictures ( one of my favorites was me and Bob Shannon)
The Mummers will always be in my blood. Thanks for this site.
I was born in 1968 and my Grand Father , Raymond Niebish and my Uncle Bobby Niebish played in the Polish American String Band for years( since I was born in 1968). I remember the string band coming to my GrandMothers house the night before the New Year’s Parade and playing outside her house in Port Richmond. Prior to them coming my Nanny would have a table set with homemade Perogies, Gawoompkies,Kabasi…. traditional Polish food and a local Catholic Priest would come to the house and bless the food. B U T…going to the ” Show of Shows” and me & my older sister (16mos older) would be in a dress with a starched slip underneath my dress to fluff it out with ruffled socks and a matching bow would proudly walk out onto the performance floor( after they performed) and give the Captain of the Polish American String Band a bouquet of flowers. I remember bulbs flashing like crazy and some years we would see our picture in the Philadelphia newspaper giving the Captain his flowers and we’d get a big kiss on the cheek from the Captain. I was probably about 3-5yrs old and I still remember all the glitter ,flashbulbs and crowd roaring and the huge pride I felt walking this bouquet of flowers out. These were simpler times…but absolutely the tradition of it all will live inside my heart & soul FOREVER!( Even at age 51yrs old now ). How deeply saddened I am that the Show of Shows NO longer exists NOR many other such traditions that was such a part of my Polish ethnictisity as well as my family tradition’s. Children today have no such memories like I had nor traditions to pass onto their children….and ” that”…” that”…to me truly breaks my heart ❤️.
Robin, this is so sweet. I miss it for my own reasons, too.
Hi, do you know what the promo code is?
Hi I am Edward F. lynch Jr. My Father Ed Lynch was the first Captain of the Kensington String Band when he was 19 years old. The Band played unfamiliarFaces and won six place. when he was in the Stamford CT hospital I went to the Mummers Musium and Palma Lucas lent me a Video Tape to show my father in the hospital. I am retired from
USAF after 26 years of service and live in Glendale, AZ.
It was the best in Phila the show of shows. I loved going to it as a kid and when I got older. I grow up with the mummers. I love them and wish so much they would bring it back. They were some good times.
I would love to come to the event are you going to lets us know when and where?
They were the best! Remember climbing down those steep steps in the civic center…