Historic Franklin Square Lights Up For The Holidays With An Epic Season-Long Festival

The return of the spectacular Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, winter beer garden and more...

Thousands of twinkling lights, alfresco fire pits, a winter beer garden, seasonal treats (including homemade fudge!) and plenty of holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square for its all-ages and completely free holiday festival and light show.

Set to kick off November 10, the Franklin Square Holiday Festival brings the Historic Philadelphia park to life all season long, lighting up the eight-acre area through December 31.

Fast Facts

  • The festival runs November 10 to December 31, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Enjoy daily light shows, a winter beer garden, special events and more.
  • Admission is free with pay-as-you-go food, drink and activities.

The seasonal outdoor attraction features nearly seven weeks of special events, activities and more, with the main feature being the spectacular Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show and its 50,000 (!) twinkling lights and dynamic holiday soundtrack.

Read on for our guide to the festive holiday event.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival
(Photo courtesy J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia Inc.)
The Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show delights those of all ages every year.

Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

The free Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square returns with more than 50,000 lights set to a soundtrack of holiday classics, including tunes played by The Philly Pops. The centerpiece of the show is a 12-foot-tall kite that serves as an ode to Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite-and-lightning experiment, hovering 16 feet above the square’s center fountain. LED lights dance to music, spreading holiday glow throughout the park.

Two alternating shows take place every 30 minutes, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays. Shows will run until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival
(J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)
The annual light show features…

  • More than 50,000 lights
  • A soundtrack of holiday classics with tunes by The Philly Pops
  • A 12-foot-tall kite (as an ode to Benjamin Franklin)

On opening night (November 10), festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with Taste of the Holiday Season, a special celebration where Benjamin Franklin and characters from both Star Wars and Frozen will make an appearance alongside musicians from The Philly POPS.

Fudge-Making and Other Edible Eats + Winter Beer Garden

New this year, Ben’s Sweets and Treats invites visitors to come out and watch the creation of homemade fudge on-site, decorate holiday cookies and garner tips on how to assemble the perfect gingerbread house. Fresh donuts will also be whipped up each evening, and a Candy Trail welcomes kids of all ages to fill a bag with treats.

Inside a heated tent, find seasonal favorites like hot chocolate, warm cider and egg nog for you to keep warm in between shows and a menu from SquareBurger that offers burgers, hot dogs, fries (including cheesesteak fries!), vegetarian options and other fun eats.

The signature Cake Shake blended with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets® will continue to delight tastebuds along with a changing shake of the month (e.g., Candy Cane Shake). Pair it with the burger of the month (e.g., Holiday Turkey Burger) for a true holiday treat.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival
(Photo courtesy J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia Inc.)
Enjoy festival eats and drinks including live fudge-making demos from Ben’s Sweets and Treats and burgers, shakes and more from SquareBurger.

Warm seasonal additions to SquareBurger’s menu include chicken noodle soup, mac and cheese, churros and more, made specially for the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.

Alongside SquareBurger is the Winter Beer Garden, where you can relax in the warmth of outdoor fire pits and enjoy a variety of seasonal beverages, local craft beers, wine and specialty cocktails.

The outdoor beer garden is open Fridays through Sundays.

Festival Events

Beyond the daily Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, an array of seasonal events fill Franklin Square throughout the duration of the holiday festival.

Santa swings by for a visit every Saturday from November 26 through December 17, mingling with festival-goers over cookies and milk and posing for photos with the kiddos. Live music fills the park each Sunday from November 13 through December 18, featuring choir songs, sing-a-longs, dance performances and more during select Electrical Spectacle intermissions.

A number of one-off events are on the schedule, too — a live ice sculpture carving, FrozenStar Wars and Nutcracker nights and more. For the complete rundown of special events, click here.

Plan ahead now and get ready to light up your calendar with a whole lot of outdoor holiday fun at the Square!

Franklin Square Holiday Festival Featuring Electrical Spectacle

When:November 10-December 31, 2016 (Excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Where:Franklin Square, 200 6th Street
Cost:Free admission; pay-as-you-go food, drink and activities



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