Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary

When it comes to Bastille Day celebrations around the world, Philadelphia literally “takes the cake.” Well, Tastykake that is. At Eastern State Penitentiary‘s annual ode to the start of the French Revolution, over 2,000 of our beloved Philly snack foods are flung from the rooftop as Queen Marie Antoinette utters those immortal words “Let them eat Tastykake!”

Sure, it’s debatable that actually happened in 1789 but all the more reason to not miss this summer spectacle.

The festival kicks off with a French Family Carnival at 2:00 p.m. with an inflatable obstacle course, water balloon toss and what else but a Tastykake eating contest leading right up to the pièce de résistance beginning at 5:30 p.m.

First-time attendees should be prepared for quite the satirical show as the Bearded Ladies Cabaret poke fun at current events, both local and national (expect jokes about the DNC and our education system). And since Eastern State isn’t erring on the side of historic accuracy, you’ll be greeted with appearances by Ben Franklin, Napoleon and even a 6-foot-tall French baguette as they prepare to storm the Bastille.

Be sure to stick around after the festival for food and drink specials throughout Fairmount, along with a rare opportunity to tour the Penitentiary after 5 p.m.

Vive la France!

If you go:
Saturday, July 16
22nd Annual Bastille Day Festival at Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.
2:00 p.m. French Family Carnival
5:30 p.m. Storming of the Bastille
Free, but VIP tickets are available