Our Guide To The Annual Bastille Day Festival Hitting Fairmount This Saturday

A huge block party, a cabaret-style show spoofing the French Revolution, 2,000+ flying Tastykakes and more...

Get ready for a rainstorm of Tastykakes in Fairmount this Saturday.

As soon as “Marie Antoinette” gives the cue, more than 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets will drop from the skies surrounding Eastern State Penitentiary, part of the museum’s annual Bastille Day Festival.

Now in its 23rd year, the festival commemorates the storming of the Bastille by French revolutionaries with a lively block party, a comical reenactment filled with song and dance and Tastycakes for the masses.


  • The festival takes place Saturday, July 15, starting at 2 p.m.
  • The centerpiece is an hour-long show from The Bearded Ladies Cabaret at 5:30 p.m.
  • Enjoy music, games, neighborhood dining deals and more.
  • Events occur outside of Eastern State Penitentiary and expand along Fairmount Avenue.

The Layout

The Bastille Day Festival takes over Fairmount Avenue, with the main performances centered outside of the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Festivities begin at approximately 2 p.m. with the French Family Carnival, featuring cornhole, a Tastykake-eating contest, an inflatable slide, jumbo Jenga and Twister, a water balloon toss, face painting and various arts and crafts. The free activities will unfold along Fairmount Avenue.

(Photo by Darryl Moran for Eastern State Penitentiary)

At the start of the festival, enjoy…

  • A French Family Carnival
  • An inflatable slide
  • A Tastykake-eating contest
  • A water balloon toss, face painting and other arts and crafts activities

Following the festival’s featured performance, select restaurants throughout Fairmount will come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and Kronenbourg 1664 specials.

Bastille Day Cabaret Show

Kicking off at 5:30 p.m., the city’s popular Bearded Ladies Cabaret will perform a free show with Eastern State Penitentiary as its backdrop.

The hour-long spectacle of song, dance and “beheading” is a tongue-in-cheek retelling of the French Revolution with special appearances from notables including Benjamin Franklin, Vladimir Putin and a six-foot-tall French baguette. The performance will also touch on timely issues — local, national and international.

The show culminates in a mock-storming of the Bastille. Be there as dozens of “French revolutionaries” charge toward the grim walls of the “Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary) and prepare for cries of “Let them eat Tastykake!” as more than 2,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison’s towers.

Street admission and the show are both free. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $40 per person and include seating, beer, refreshments and a front-row view of the exciting performance.

Bastille Day
(R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

The centerpiece of the festival features…

  • A free show performed by the hilarious Bearded Ladies Cabaret
  • A song- and dance-filled reeneactment of the French Revolution
  • 2,000-plus Tastykakes flung through the air
  • Comical political commentary
  • And more, all beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Food, Drink & After-Party

A number of Fairmount bars and restaurants get in on the festival fun with French-themed entertainment and/or specials.

Head to the London Grill to catch the West Philadelphia Orchestra while enjoying food and Kronenbourg 1664 specials, or enjoy a glass of wine next door at sister restaurant Paris Wine Bar.

Other participating locations include Urban Saloon, Fare, Bishop’s Collar, Fairmount and Co., St. Stephen’s Green and The Belgian Cafe.

The after-party also extends to Eastern State Penitentiary, which will host a special opportunity to tour the museum after-hours. From 6:30-8:30 p.m., visitors can explore the radical 19th-century building and the rich history it holds. Admission is $8 online or $10 at the door.

Getting There

Traveling to the Fairmount neighborhood is simple via walking, biking, public transit and taxi. To bike there, consider checking out Philly’s bike share program, Indego.

Parking, however, is fairly limited, and streets will be blocked off for the all-day street fair, so avoid driving if possible.

For travel by SEPTA, hop on the number 48, 43, 33, 32 or 7 bus.

We’ll see you out there – hopefully with a Butterscotch Krimpet in hand!

Bastille Day Festival at Eastern State Penitentiary

When:Saturday, July 15
Where:Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue



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