Franklin Square’s Holiday Festivities Kick Off Tonight

Embrace the holiday spirit in all its jolly glory–lest your heart shrink two sizes too small–at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, running now through December 31st. The Square has transformed into the ultimate holiday village, with dazzling light shows, a soundtrack of festive classics performed by the Philly POPS, a market to shop handmade items and artisanal goods, and a beer garden with fire pits, seasonal brews, and comfort foods. There's tons of fun for the little ones too, including mini golf, the carousel, and train rides. Admission is free! For more information, click here. Friday, November 14th-Wednesday, December 31st, 4 p.m.-8 p.m., Franklin Square, 200 N. Sixth Street.

You know how you feel like Franklin Square is just oh-so-adorable and you always mean to get there for some of their seasonal events but you don’t have kids so you never seem to make it? Yeah, we get that.

Well, make some time tonight (or at least this winter) because the holiday festivities kick off with free hot chocolate, a new holiday market, the returning Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show and a beer tent. Tonight at 5pm, “Ben Franklin” will fire up the light show, which sets taped holiday music performed by The Philly POPS and partially arranged by Peter Nero to a dynamic 50,000-bulb flying kite display.

Two alternating light shows will run every half hour from 4:30-8 until December 31. Every night one audience member will get to light the first display.

It may be raining today but that shouldn’t necessarily deter you from checking everything out between now and the end of the year. The Holiday Market and Ben’s Bites and Brews share a huge tent where you can warm up around fire pits with hot apple cider spiked with applejack; a traditional German mulled wine and brandy drink called “glühwein;” or comfort foods like fried Oreos, pumpkin pretzels and mac n cheese. Brauhaus Schmitz is providing two German beers: Warsteiner pilsner and dunkel lager. The beer garden is mostly open Thursday through Sunday.

Sharing the tent is the new holiday market, open daily, where local artisans (and some corporate entities) sell blankets, LED toys and the usual knit hats, gloves, and the like. Some of the Square’s regular features are getting the holiday treatment, too. Philly Mini Golf will have holiday-themed warming stations, the carousel will play holiday tunes (because where else can you hear Christmas carols during the holidays?!) and the dressed-up Lightning Bolt train will ride through the decorated park.

Because this is Franklin Square, where there’s seemingly a special event every day, Saturdays through the season bring themed visits with Santa (one day is pet-friendly Santa PAWS Saturday); Sundays encourage sing-alongs during light show intermissions; and special guests like Pennsylvania Ballet Nutcracker dancers and Ella from “Frozen” also mingle with the crowd for select one-night appearances.

Franklin Square Holiday Market [Official]