Reminder: The Bastille Day Festival Returns To Eastern State Penitentiary This Saturday, July 16 With A Street Fair, Real Guillotine, 2,000 Tastykakes Flung From The Tower Walls And More

This tongue-in-cheek Bastille Day reenactment, complete with Tastykake hailstorm, is a Philadelphia summer tradition.
(Photos courtesy Eastern State Penitentiary)

The 17th annual Bastille Day Festival returns to Eastern State Penitentiary this Saturday, July 16.

The actual Bastille Day was this Thursday, July 14 and Philadelphia hosted fetes aplenty, but this is the main event, the be-all, end-all of the Bastille Day celebrations.

The event consists of an awesome street festival, filled with performances, food, drinks and activities; the Storming of the Bastille reenactment; and can’t-be-missed after parties throughout Fairmount.

Here’s all you need to know:

Bastille Day Street Festival 2-6 p.m., Eastern State Penitentiary, FREE.

Entertainment: Take tours ($12) of the penitentiary, watch a pet parade, bike parade, French fashion show, Peek A Boo Revue Can Can Dancers and costume contest.

Activities: There will be caricaturists, face painting, make and take crafts with the Fairmount Art Center, and a French Twists and Updos tent by Snip Salon.

Food & Drink: Guests can enjoy French fare from neighborhood restaurants, including The Belgian Cafe, Fare, Jack’s Firehouse, Luigi’s Pizza Fresca, Mugshots Coffeehouse, and Rembrandt’s, while DiBruno Bros. will be on hand with french cheeses. Kronenbourg 1664 Beer, Mouton Cadet wine, and champagne will also be flowing.

Storming of the Bastille: The annual storming of the Bastille is the festival’s main act each year, when dozens of French revolutionaries, armed with muskets and cannons, and singing “La Marseilles,” storm the grim walls of “the Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary) and drag “Marie Antoinette” (Terry McNally, co-owner of Fairmount‘s London Grill) to a real, functioning guillotine built for the occasion.

Position yourself below the raining-down of 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets from the prison’s medieval towers. The storming takes place at 5:30.

Bastille Day After Parties

After the storming, the party spills into the Fairmount neighborhood, as restaurants and bars host great French dinner specials and alfresco celebrations throughout the evening. The epicenter of the after parties is London Grill, but the whole neighborhood participates giving you plenty of places to party like its 1789!

And don’t forget about Fairmount Goes French Friday tonight, July 15, including a free movie screening under the stars on the lawn behind the penitentiary.

Bastille Day Festival
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2020 Fairmount Avenue
When: Saturday, July 16, Starting at 2 p.m.
Cost: Free
More info:

Previously: The Annual Bastille Day Celebration Returns To Eastern State This Weekend; Fairmount To Celebrate With 4 Days Of Festivities, July 14-17


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