Golden Sunrise Fancy Division: "All of Second Street is New Year's" — An Interview with John Lucas
On a quiet, tree-lined block shared by the Palelai Buddhist Temple and a silkscreen print shop, an unremarkable row house bears an index card-sized sign reading “Golden Sunrise Fancy New Years Association.” Inside, the amber glow of a wood-paneled reception room gives way to the amber glow of a wood-paneled bar, possibly the spot for post-Mummers parade revelry, or perhaps just a place to unwind during a weekly costume night meeting.
Trophies line the cases along the wall of a hallway that leads to a large open space in back. Here, rows of sequined, bedazzled, and feathered costumes line up haphazardly. Decades of Fancy Divisions costumes co-mingle. Sometimes they linger unused, other times they wait to be re-configured into this year’s attire. If you’ve ever found yourself at a parade speculating where the Mummers continue to keep their costumes year after year, know that they sometimes wonder this as well. Space is certainly an issue for each club, as they try to negotiate ever-growing collections of sculptural outfits.
The Golden Sunrise Fancy Division has been at 2nd and Greenwich since 1971. Before then, they housed their wares “anywhere they could get for free,” according to John Lucas, Golden Sunrise’s treasurer and president of the entire Fancy Division.
If you walk the streets in this neighborhood, even on a muggy day in July, you’re likely to pass the odd open garage filled, not with cars, but extravagantly sequined floats and costumes. You might even pass, like I did, costumed Mummers, outfitted with instruments, walking down the street to practice or perform. Like John Lucas says, “This neighborhood is all New Year’s.” Even in July.