dnc wing bowl

A mash-up: Why Philly, home of the Wing Bowl, is perfect for the 2016 DNC

This morning, two former governors of Pennsylvania argued in a letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer that this city is the perfect host for the 2016 Democratic National Convention — an event that would, should its bid be accepted, be held at the Wells Fargo Center. In a freak of timing, this morning that same Wells Fargo Center was the home of a pre-dawn spectacle involving at least three of the Seven Deadly Sins, alongside copious amounts of chicken wings, alcohol and exotic dancers. So Billy Penn thought those two things — the anointing of a political candidate, and an eating contest of Ancient Roman proportions — might go together like, well, peanut butter and chocolate.

Maybe this is why the DNC should come to Philly?

By Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge

Philadelphia has generated terrific momentum as one of the most vibrant cities in the world, a place where an exciting cultural and entertainment renaissance continues to flourish along the same neatly squared streets that Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and the rest of America’s founders once called home.

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Add the city’s ease of access and its reputation for hosting successful large-scale events, and the evidence seems pretty clear that Philadelphia is a great place for a party – in this case, the Democratic Party in 2016.

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When it comes to hosting the Democratic National Convention, we’re speaking on behalf of Democrats and Republicans from all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware who agree that Philadelphia stands head and shoulders above the competition.

Here’s why:

First, the delegate experience will be second to none. Philadelphia is a great time! It’s a terrific restaurant city, perhaps the best in America, with an amazing array of five-star restaurants, Top Chef stars, more than 300 BYOBs, picturesque outdoor cafes with sidewalk seating, the spectacular Reading Terminal Market, the iconic Italian Market, and enough specialty pizza and sandwich shops to satisfy any appetite. “Philadelphia food and drink is not as good as Philadelphians say it is,” the magazine Bon Appetit wrote recently. “It’s better.”

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The arts and cultural scene is terrific, too. Delegates can stroll the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and enjoy the spectacular Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute, and the Barnes museum. Or explore the most historic square mile in America, with visits to Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, or the riveting President’s House exhibit, where slaves once lived in quarters that are literally steps away from the Liberty Bell.

For visitors, Philadelphia is a city of great convenience. Delegates will have easy access to all of the major events of the 2016 convention, either at the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City, or the state-of-the-art Wells Fargo Center just 12 minutes away on the Broad Street subway.

  Philadelphia boasts more than 11,000 hotel rooms in Center City, and an additional 35,000 rooms within a short commute by car or rail.

Philadelphia is a spectacular walking city, built on the street-grid pattern designed by William Penn, whose vision of a “greene country towne” lives on in thousands of acres of parks like the new Schuylkill River Trail, historic Fairmount Park, and the newly redesigned Dilworth Park at City Hall.

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When it comes to large-scale events, Philadelphia is a welcoming city, with vast experience in managing everything from political conventions and protests to worldwide festivals and parades, including the upcoming 2015 World Meeting of Families, which will bring two million people (and Pope Francis) to our city from more than 100 countries around the world.

Last but not least, Philadelphia has assembled a terrific team of partners who are “all in” to win the bid and put on the best convention in history. It includes leaders of the hospitality industry, elected officials from both parties, representatives from community and civic groups, and financial support from citizens and companies who understand the tremendous positive impact that a political convention can have on a city’s reputation across America and around the world.

Here’s hoping that the Democratic National Committee will conclude what people throughout the region already know: When it comes to making history, Philadelphia is a great place for the party.

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