Bastille Day in Philadelphia

Bastille Day At Eastern State Penitentiary

Bastille Day At Eastern State Penitentiary With Marie Antoinette and Cast

‘A Long Day Party at Eastern State Penitentiary & Much More’

What is Bastille Day? It’s a French holiday, which in France, is called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration). It takes place every year on July 14. This day represents the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; which was a French prison and is seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation that took place back then in Paris, France.

Bastille Day, an annual celebration, has become very popular all over the City of Philadelphia, most noticeably at Eastern State Penitentiary, to where they will have a 2-hr special event which will take place on July 15, 2017.

Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary ~ Experience & Atmosphere

Eastern State Penitentiary will be teaming up with The Bearded Ladies to showcase the entire French Revolution.

Starting at 5:30 pm, you’ll get to experience song, dance, and a fake beheading. 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. Click Here

After the 1 hour performance by the Bearded Ladies, there will be a playful reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. Dozens of French revolutionaries will storm the grim walls of “the Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary) and will capture Marie Antoinette (portrayed by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill). She’ll then be dragged to a real, functioning guillotine as 3,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison’s towers.

Mingle with some of the famous people from back in the day as there will also be appearances by Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, and a life-size French Baguette.

This year’s performance, the script will touch on Philly public school education, the American Healthcare Act, racial injustice, alternative facts, the travel ban, and the border wall. (What makes them super? Can they fly?!) Expect confetti cannons, stilt walkers, a cardboard horse, and a catwalk so long it divides the whole of Fairmount Avenue.

After this event, don’t forget to hang around the Fairmount neighborhood and check out the many great restaurants and bars located in this area.

Special Bonus

This year Tastykake is offering a few lucky “Kake catchers” the opportunity to win some awesome Tastykake themed prizes along with a cash prize. A select bunch of the Tastykake Krimpets and pies that are thrown into the crowd will be marked with a special sticker, encouraging the lucky recipient to head to the onsite Tastykake truck to collect their winnings.

Schedule of Events

10 am – 5 pm ~ Tour Eastern State Penitentiary. Standard Admission. Last entry 4 pm.

2:00 pm ~ French Family Carnival, presented by Valley Green Bank. Enjoy music, games, and entertainment on Fairmount Avenue, including an inflatable obstacle course, Tastykake eating contest, water balloon toss, jumbo Jenga and Twister, face painting, and arts & crafts. Each game winner will receive a ticket. Tickets can be traded in at the prize booth. (Most activities will be free, but some may have a small fee.)

5:30 pm ~  Bastille Day cabaret performance. FREE! VIP seating available, Click Here

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm ~ Explore Eastern State Penitentiary after-hours. Admission is $8 online, or $10 at the door.

6:30 pm – until close ~ French-themed food and drink specials at select Fairmount restaurants. For list of restaurants, click here For More Info ~ Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary ~

Other Bastille Day Activities in Philly (waiting for updated info for 2017)

  • 10th Annual Bastille Day Celebration of the Arts 2016 ~ Free. The Media Arts Council will host this event in downtown Media. This event transforms State Street into an arts-filled scene from history, featuring professional theater presentations, visual art  displays, live music and dancing, children’s activities and crafts, and more. For more info, Bastille Day 2016 M.A.C 


Eastern State Penitentiary 
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130


July 15, 2017


Pre-Show  |  2:30 pm Main Event  |  5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

VIP Tickets

Web Site

Jeff Belonger

Jeff Belonger has been in the mortgage industry for 19+ years and now wants to do something different. With his experience of blogging and social media, Jeff wants to share all of what Philadelphia has to offer, so he created At MyPhillyAlive, we want to share the excitement that the City of Philadelphia resonates. Sharing the passion within, from the people of Philadelphia. At MyPhillyAlive, we’ll be talking about Philadelphia restaurants, fun bars, the city night life, the history of Philadelphia, Philly attractions & events, the arts, sports, and much more. We want people to add their experiences regarding Philadelphia, even if they are from out of town, which can be done on our Facebook fan page as well. At the end of the day, we want to be different from the many Philadelphia sites. We want our site to be easy to navigate, while at the same time, we want you to not only find the hot spots, the best things to do in Philadelphia; but those hidden gems within the city. Thanks...

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  1. Dino Hukic says:

    I really am able to see how creative Philadelphia is! I have experienced 3 Bastille Days in Paris, but I really want to see this one in Philadelphia. A showcase of the entire French revolution is something that I have yet to see! Great job Philly!

    • Dino, that must be exciting to experience Bastille Day close to where it all took place. What takes place at Eastern State Penitentiary is pretty cool, with some twists of humor, such as throwing tastycakes instead of apples and such. If ever in Philly, let us know. thx

  2. Jonathan Payne says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun even though I’m not big on the whole reenactment thing. But you know my love of history, so this is pretty cool.


  1. [...] 14 ~ Several events happening around Philly. The biggest event is at Eastern State Penitentiary. ~ Bastille Day in Philadelphia [...]

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