The South Philly Vikings are a non-profit organization that is part of the Philadelphia Mummers. It was founded in 1985 and they first marched as part of the Fancy Brigade Division in 1986. With founder Carmen “Butchie” D’Amato the group had been marching as The South Philly Comics in the comic division and were very successful with a strong core membership.
In its first year, the club took 10th place. The next year, they jumped to a fourth place finish and in 1988, just two short years after they merged with the Original Vikings N.Y.B, the club was awarded their first……first place finish with the groundbreaking performance, “Motor City Motorvation”. They also were one of the first brigades to incorporate women not only as performers, but as full time members in the organization.
They followed their first win with two more first place finishes in consecutive years for their first “three-peat”: Followed by two second places that very quickly made them a new young force to be reckoned with amongst clubs that had much longer, storied histories. Butchie was also recognized as one of the true, new innovators within the division.
In 1995, they again took brigade performances to a new level with their first prize theme, “Rumble in the Mighty Jungle”. It was from then on that they were known for their “Wow Factor”: Highly choreographed and energetic performances with elaborate sets and huge props.
The next year they followed that with a superhero show that introduced powerful techno-based music into the mix along with their usual innovation and in turn, captured another first place finish.
Pete D’Amato (Butchie’s brother) took the reins as captain in 2002, injecting new energy, ideas and spirit into the club. In 2005 the club captured the first of another three-peat, putting the organization on one of the most successful runs of any fancy brigade in the history of the parade. Since 2003 until present (2016), the club has finished in first or second place, eleven of fourteen times with 12 wins: 2nd in the division to only one other organization; Although, having achieved that record in half the time.
The South Philly Vikings have been on the forefront of the parade’s evolution, introducing technology and other non-traditional aspects into shows which have moved the performances and the parade itself, into the new phase.
In their relatively short 32-year history as a brigade, the South Philly Vikings are one of two clubs to have ever marched first and capture first prize in the same year.
Aside from mummery, as with other Mummer clubs, the South Philly Vikings are known for their philanthropic work: Being a non-profit themselves, they’ve spent countless hours volunteering their time and efforts to help other non-profits around the Tri-State area and around the country. They’ve also donated their club and time to countless fundraisers that help the community.
In 2010, an NBC casting director saw their performance of “Apocalypse: 2110” on You Tube and invited them to audition for the NBC Network show “Americas Got Talent” After the initial audition, the South Philly Vikings got, what was the equivalent of the Golden Buzzer. They were invited to go directly through to the live rounds, making the prestigious Top 48 (out of approx. 70, 000 entrants)
Since then, the South Philly Vikings have continued to dream up ground breaking theme choices. They have also continued to volunteer in the community for such non-profits as the Special Olympics, PBS, Kyle Korver’s Coats for Kids, 2ForBlue (Benefiting local Police) The Mummers Museum, Mummers for Cancer, Autism Speaks, Huntington’s Disease to just name a few…. Each enriches the neighborhood and the lives of those surrounding them.
They have become an [In-Demand] club for hire, performing around the country at various festivals, parades and corporate shows.
The South Philly Vikings will continue to carry the torch of the Founding Mummers and strive to put on shows that wow and thrill audiences, entertaining them with performances, never seen before.
They are currently preparing for their next extravagant show on January 1, 2020.
The South Philly Vikings
1815 S. 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148