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The Bastille Day celebration in Fairmount

July 10, 2012 7:16:15 AM PDT
When America declared independence in 1776, it was serious business. Today, our "Welcome America" events are largely family fun. Saturday marks the anniversary of the French revolution, Bastille Day and it's cause for a big party in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood.

They'll sing French songs, perform skits, and ultimately behead Marie Antoinette, but not before her annual tradition of throwing Tastykakes to "peasants" from the prison wall. "the Bearded Ladies" are a resident troupe at Center City's Wilma Theatre, and do a number of short, irreverent productions.

You can learn more about them from their website, "The Bearded Ladies".

The Bastille Day celebration was launched more than 20 years ago by restaurants in the neighborhood in an attempt to breathe life into the slow summer season. Now it jams the neighborhood and people come back year after year for the fun.

London Grill's Terry Berch McNally was cast as Marie Antoinette because she was the only female restaurateur. Today, she wouldn't relinquish the role.

London and other restaurants offer special promotions the day of the event. You can read more on their website, at London Grill or phone 215-978-4545.

Eastern State Penitentiary is a landmark structure in the history of world crime punishment. It made longer prison terms possible in which convicts would be able to sit and reflect on their deeds, hence "penitentiary".

It's available for tours almost every day, and tickets are available at the main gate. For information, visit their website, Eastern State Penitentiary or call 215-236-5111. On the website, you may also sign up for their newsletter.


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