The Newly Expanded Franklin Square Holiday Festival Kicks Off Its Season Thursday, November 13 With A Huge Light Show, Winter Beer Garden, Fire Pits, Live Music, Holiday Shopping And More

From November 13 through December 31, Franklin Square hosts major holiday action with the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, a winter beer garden, a holiday market and much more. (Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia)
From November 13 through December 31, Franklin Square hosts major holiday action with the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, a winter beer garden, a holiday market and much more. (Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia)

Though the days are now shorter, winter nights will be joyfully brighter this holiday season thanks to a brand-new holiday festival at Franklin Square debuting this Thursday, November 13.

A major expansion of the annual holiday happenings at the historic park, the Franklin Square Holiday Festival includes not only the traditional on-site events Philadelphians have come to count on — holiday lights, visits with Santa and family-friendly programs — but also some excellent additions for grown-ups.

Kicking off on Thursday, November 13 and continuing daily through Wednesday, December 31, the Franklin Square Holiday Festival celebrates the season with the return of the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show and the opening of new attractions like a winter beer garden, holiday craft market and food truck Fridays.

Read on for more on what’s sure to be a must-do holiday tradition.

Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

The holiday magic at Benjamin Franklin’s namesake park kicks off with the return of the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, a free dazzling show of more than 50,000 lights.

Featuring a 10-foot-tall kite made of lights that sparkle and spread the glow to additional lights throughout the square, the show is coordinated to lively music by none other than The Philly Pops, with additional songs from The Nutcracker this year, too.

The lights are set to shine eight times daily every 30 minutes between 4:30 and 8 p.m., weather permitting, so taking in the display will be as easy as arriving at Franklin Square for a visit.

Franklin Square
See the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show daily in two alternating shows every 30 minutes from 4:30 to 8 p.m., November 13-December 31. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

For more on the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, see below.

Winter Beer Garden and Food Trucks

Beyond the spectacle of lights, Franklin Square offers the chance to extend the beer garden season all the way through the end of 2014 with Ben’s Bites & Brews winter beer garden.

The good folks of Old Eagle Tavern in Manayunk will be on hand to host the beer garden with libations from local Barren Hill Brewery and Tavern, and a selection of seasonal eats will round out the offerings.

A handful of fire pits will keep folks cozy, as will a selection of hot beverages, too.

Note that from Monday through Wednesday, other food and beverage options will be available, but the beer garden is open 4-8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, November 13-December 26, and daily, December 26-31.

Every Friday, November 28-December 26, Philly’s finest food trucks line up to spread holiday cheer through drinks and bites. The food trucks rolling up to Franklin Square will rotate, so check here for the weekly pick.

Holiday Market and Gift Shop

As if an awesome light show and winter beer garden were’t already enough incentive to spend some time this holiday season at Franklin Square, the park will also now be a holiday shopping destination.

Open daily, 4-8 p.m., the Franklin Square Holiday Gift Shop will peddle a small selection of accessories and gifts.

Come Friday, November 28, the new Franklin Square Holiday Market will open with an array of vendors curated by PHAIR. As with the weekly PHAIR maker market at the Shambles at Headhouse Square, the Franklin Square market will include a selection of artisans selling jewelry, clothing, toys and more.

Franklin Square
With tons of holiday happenings on daily basis, Franklin Square is a top destination for seasonal merrymaking all season long.
(Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Holiday Programs and Events

Holiday fun in Franklin Square also means festive train rides on Saturdays and Sundays, carousel rides and mini golf daily, regularly scheduled live music, children’s games and much more.

Visits with Santa Claus are a tradition at Franklin Square, and take place in 2014 every Saturday afternoon, November 29 through December 20.

The calendar of special events also includes choral performances, college spirit days, kids craft hours and FM Radio holiday fun days.

For the complete schedule of holiday events in Franklin Square, check right here and check back soon for more on the holidays in Philadelphia.

It’s going to be a great holiday season at Franklin Square!

Franklin Square Holiday Festival
When: November 13-December 31
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Cost: Free admission; pay as you go activities
More info: www.historicphiladelphia.org

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