Notable events are having their grand openings this year which include the Cherry Street Pier, Rail Park, and the world-famous just-restored LOVE sculpture park. In the meantime, events are also coming to a close, namely the Bastille Day Farewell Tour at Eastern State Penitentiary. People know summer in Philadelphia for its larger-than-life events and its people for their can-do spirit. Visiting the art shows, outdoor festivals, film screenings, food-focused events bring in a lot of vibrancy and loud enthusiasm to kick the mundane norm to the curb. Most events require a small negligible admission fee, but there are tons of free events to attend to. All you need is a few blankets to place on the grass, an open mind and heart, your family and friends, and some homemade sandwiches and drinks, and you’re good to go! One good example would be the Wawa Welcome America free party - it’s a free concert complete with elaborate fireworks displays along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
During weekends, when the kids are bouncing off the wall, bring them out for a fun alfresco meal where you hang out with your friends over a delicious brunch while the little ones play outdoors. It’s affordable, simple, and irrefutably satisfying.
1. Bastille Day : The Farewell TourJuly 14, 2018; 5.30pm
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
In France, it’s called la Fete Nationale, meaning the French National Celebration, and in most English-speaking nations, it’s Bastille Day. Celebrated on July 14th every year, the Eastern State Penitentiary’s Bastille Day celebration will be the last in its run. For one final time, they are teaming up with the renowned The Bearded Ladies. They are a troupe of performers known for their intellectual, witty, entertaining and meaningful cabaret performances during the Bastille Day event. Without holding back, they tackle everything from politics to gender equality, artistic innovations to the latest happenings like Philly public education systems, racial injustice, Mark Zuckerberg (and Facebook, of course) and the epic topic of the border wall. They offer a spectacular look into the whole French Revolution which involves everything from commentaries to songs, dances to food.
As touchy as some topics can be, they toast them in a delicate yet playful manner. Emceed by Edith Piaf, the event is backed by performances depicting the last Queen of France before the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette, Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, Vladimir Putin, and an impressive 6-foot-tall French Baguette. Terry McNally, the co-owner of London Grill and Paris Wine Bar, has been taking on the task of portraying Marie Antoinette since the event's inception in 1985, throwing ‘TaskyKakes’ out of the prison walls after a mock cry, ‘Let them eat Tastykake!’
As the State Penitentiary embarks on a new journey, the event (which has grown far beyond its original founders' anticipation 24 years ago) will close the curtain with the Farewell Tour. All good things, as they say, have to come to an end, but with bread and beer in hand, a song on your lips and a dance to your steps, you’ll remember this Bastille Day for a long time. So, join them on their sendoff journey and revel in reenactments of French Revolution and enjoy thousands of butterscotch krimpets raining down on event-goers. They will hold the After Party at French-themed restaurants, Urban Saloon and London Grill.
Eastern State will host its 24th and final Bastille Day celebration on July 14. View the performance from the exclusive (French Bourgeoisie) VIP section! Tickets include @1664usa and other refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Get your tickets at EasternState.org/Bastille.
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