Bastille Day in Philadelphia

You know you did the right thing when all weekend you think to yourself, “Why did I ever stop posting on the weekends?” While I did still enjoy my weekend away, that doesn’t mean I didn’t tote my camera around with me! And this Saturday happened to be Bastille Day!

What in the world is Bastille Day?

Technically, it was on Sunday. But on Saturday, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia housed a celebration. Bastille Day is celebrated in France and is apparently known as La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration), or the 14th of July! It’s all about celebrating the uprising against a not-so-much liked monarchy and happens to coincide with the dates of the Storming of the Bastille. Which, my friends, is not a pastry, but a fortress. Doesn’t mean that pastries weren’t involved.

Why is it in Philadelphia?

That’s a good question, but it’s probably because Philadelphians love an excuse to celebrate. According to Wikipedia (shh, don’t tell my professors), many places around the U.S.A. also celebrate! Plus, we’ve got a pretty cool place to do it.

Philadelphia Bastille Day

Eastern State Penitentiary!

Rain did not hold these celebrators away. The Bearded Ladies, a troop based out of a local theater, entertained the crowd with renditions of Bring Him Home from Les Misérables and Lady Marmelade. They also included a revolutionary song which sounded eerily similar to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. It got the crowd riled up for sure.

French Flag

French flag hung outside being very still in the lack of breeze.

I didn’t have an excellent vantage point, but things really got interesting when Marie Antoinette popped up and (after a few exchanges with the revolutionaries) hollered, “Let them eat Tastykake!” Hundreds of them went flying over the wall and I instantly wanted to catch one. I wasn’t successful, but the want was there.

Bastille Day

Tastykake specks flying through the air. You can see a Marie look-a-like’s pink hair!

Educational sidenote for those who don’t know what a Tastykake is: I’ll copy the description of a Krimpet from their website, because we all know (assume?) that’s what they mean anyway. “Signature moist and fluffy sponge cake is accented with legendary Tastykake butterscotch icing, or infused with a variety of delicious jellies. With a distinctive and unique shape that fits right into your fingertips, each Krimpet is a perfect handheld treat. Tasytykake Krimpets have been considered icons of the brand since their introduction in 1927.”

Yeah, hello signature Philadelphia.

A ton of local restaurants and bars had French specials for the event. I also heard talk of an Antoinette Brunch and a French Trivia Night. Unfortunately, I had work and didn’t have an abundance of time to celebrate. But it was a cool deal nonetheless!

Photography Lessons of the Day

  1. Get a good vantage point or you will get mad at all of the tall people in front of you. DON’T THEY KNOW you need to blog this?
  2. Don’t be camera shy! I went with Paul and a bunch of his business-y friends. I was very shy about pulling out my camera, which is why I don’t have more pictures. That should NOT have happened!

Have you ever celebrated (or heard of!) Bastille Day, in France or otherwise?