Amid the Tastykakes, Philly’s Bastille Day celebration gets political

Signs of Solidarity joined up with The Bearded Ladies to infuse the fest with activist messages.

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Jordan Gunselman / Billy Penn
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Although Bastille Day is political in origin — the French National Day commemorates a turning point in the revolution that brought democracy to that country — July 14 celebrations two centuries later are more weighted toward partying than politics.

That’s definitely usually the case in Philly’s Fairmount neighborhood, which turns out each summer for a street festival centered around a re-enactment of the storming of the Bastille.

Drag cabaret group The Bearded Ladies puts on a show with song and dance, area restaurants serve food and drink al fresco and a Marie Antoinette character (played by London Grill’s Terry Berch McNally) climbs to the top of a turret at Eastern State Penitentiary to shout “Let them eat Tastykakes” before showering the crowd with free sugary snacks.

But this year, in reaction to the current US administration, the fun-filled block party will also be infused with activist messages.

Here’s what Signs of Solidarity has planned for the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15.

Video by Jordan Gunselman

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