It turns out there are more perks to having a historical site like Eastern State Penitentiary in the neighborhood (aside from education about mass incarceration and a world-class haunted house, of course): its towers make for the perfect Bastille Day re-enactment.
And in Philly, that comes with cries of “Let them eat Tastykake!”
Eastern State teams up with its Fairmount neighbors and The Bearded Ladies Cabaret for Bastille Day each year, and the collaboration is impressive: the troupe will re-enact the French Revolution, including storming the Bastille (Eastern State), capturing Marie Antoinette, played by London Grill and Paris Wine Bar co-owner Terry McNally, and haul her to the guillotine as 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets rain down on the crowd from the prison’s towers.
The free French Family Carnival — with games, a water baloon toss, face painting, arts and crafts, and the Tastykake-eating contest — precedes the performance from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, July 15th.
The performance, which begins at 5:30 p.m, is also free. If you want a bourgeois (a.k.a. VIP) seat, to you can snag a $40 ticket, which entitles you to reserved seating, beer and refreshments, goodie bags, and heckling from the masses, here. Proceeds benefit Eastern State Penitentiary.
Following Marie’s beheading, the penitentiary will offer after-hours tours for $8 online or $10 at the door, and neighborhood spots Urban Saloon, Fare, London Grill, Bishop’s Collar, Fairmount and Co., St. Stephen’s Green, and The Belgian Cafe will serve up French-themes specials after 6:30 p.m.
Eastern State Penitentiary [Official]