The 19th annual Bastille Day Festival takes over Eastern State Penitentiary on July 13. The festival is back and better than ever with a team-up with The Bearded Ladies, Philadelphia’s experimental cabaret troupe, who are slated to put on a theatrical performance of the storming of the Bastille. Following the free performance on Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount’s businesses and restaurants open their doors for a public celebration.
Grab a Super Soaker and storm the walls! Whether you’re a revolutionary or an aristocrat, there’s something for you in this celebration of all things French!
This free theatrical performance will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will culminate in a playful reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. Dozens of French revolutionaries will storm the grim walls of “the Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary), will capture Marie Antoinette (portrayed by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill) and, ignoring her mocking cries of “Let them eat Tastykake!” will drag her to a real, functioning guillotine as 3,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison’s towers.
The performance will take place on Fairmount Avenue, free and open to the public. For those interested in a better (French Bourgeoisie) view, exclusive VIP seating is available for a donation fee. VIP tickets include table seating, beer and refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Tickets are available online now.
Following the beheading, local Fairmount restaurants will come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials, and the penitentiary will reopen for rare twilight tours at a discounted admission price ($10 Adults, $5 Students, Seniors and Kids).
Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!