Whether you’re a revolutionary or a royalist, there’s something for you during Eastern State Pententiary's bombastic, tongue-in-cheek Bastille Day Festival. (Photo by L. Wuillermin)
Now that America’s Independence Day has passed, it’s time to look forward to partying down in honor of the French Revolution.
The 19th annual Bastille Day Festival takes over Eastern State Penitentiary and the Fairmount neighborhood on Saturday, July 13, in honor of the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the turning point of the French Revolution.
Once again, the Penitentiary teams-up with the always-entertaining Bearded Ladies, Philadelphia’s experimental cabaret troupe, who are slated to put on a theatrical performance of the storming of the Bastille beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Emceed by Edith Piaf, “the voice of Paris,” the hilariously campy show is an extravaganza of song and dance, and includes appearances by characters like Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin and a life-size French Baguette. Oui, a loaf of bread.
Culminating in a mock-storming of the Bastille — for which Eastern State Penitentiary makes a perfect stand-in — revolutionaries take over, Marie Antoinette cries “Let them eat Tastykake!” and 3,000 Tastykakes are flung into the crowds from the prison’s towers.
For those interested in a close-up view, VIP seating is available for donation online starting today, and VIP tickets include reserved seating, Kronenbourg 1664 and more treats.
Following the free performance on Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount’s businesses and restaurants open their doors for a public celebration.
Vive la révolution!
Bastille Day Festival
When: Saturday, July 13, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2020 Fairmount Avenue
More info: www.easternstate.org