Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show
Brilliant bright display inspired by the imagination of Benjamin Franklin
November 10-December 31, 2016 (except Thanksgiving and Christmas)
Festive lights, winter treats and holiday cheer will fill historic Franklin Square all season long for its all-ages (and completely free!) holiday festival and light show.
With the spectacular Electrical Spectacle light show as its main feature — the show employs more than 50,000 (!) twinkling lights and dynamic holiday soundtrack — the seasonal outdoor attraction rounds out the ongoing festivities with a winter beer garden, holiday shopping, themed events and more.
Franklin Square kicks off its festival November 10, 2016 at 5 p.m. with Taste of the Holiday Season, a night where Benjamin Franklin and characters from both Star Wars and Frozen will make an appearance alongside musicians from The Philly POPS set to play into the evening.
Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show
The free holiday light show at Franklin Square returns with more than 50,000 lights set to a soundtrack of holiday tunes including those by the Philly Pops. The centerpiece of the shows is a 12-foot tall kite that serves as an ode to Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite-and-lightning experiment, hovering 16 feet above the square’s centerpiece fountain. LED lights dance to music all along the kite, spreading holiday glow throughout the park.
Two alternating shows take place every 30 minutes will take place each night beginning at 4:30 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Franklin Square Holiday Festival
The Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show is just one part of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.
The festival will feature nearly seven weeks of attractions, activities and more. Read on for more info.
Ben’s Sweets and Treats and Other Edible Eats + Winter Beer Garden
New this year, Ben’s Sweets and Treats invites visitors to come out and watch homemade fudge be created on-site, decorate holiday cookies and garner tips on how to assemble the perfect gingerbread house. Fresh donuts will also be whipped up each evening, and a Candy Trail welcomes kids of all ages to fill a bag with treats.
A heated tent will serve up seasonal favorites like hot chocolate, warm cider and egg nog for you to keep warm in between shows, and SquareBurger will offer a menu of burgers, hot dogs, fries (including cheesesteak fries!), vegetarian options and other family friendly eats. The signature Cake Shake blended with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets® will continue to delight tastebuds, along with a changing shake-of-the-month (i.e., Candy Cane Shake), which you may wish to pair with the burger-of-the-month (i.e., Holiday Turkey Burger). Warm seasonal additions to Squareburger’s menu include chicken noodle soup, mac and cheese, churros and more, made specially for the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.
Alongside SquareBurger is the Winter Beer Garden, where you can relax in the warmth of outdoor fire pits and enjoy a variety of seasonal beverages, local craft beers, wine and specialty cocktails.
Sculpting in the Square
A special, seasonal popup event will take place this year in celebration of Franklin Square’s 10th birthday. Light up your Thursday evening on December 8 with a live ice carving ice sculpture display going down from 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Weekends at the Square: Santa Saturdays and Seasonal Sounds Sundays
On Saturdays from November 26 – December 17, 2016 from 4-5 p.m., Franklin Square invites the entire family out to enjoy milk and cookies with Santa as he tells some of his favorite stories inside the heated Franklin Square Pavilion. Tickets are $10 per person. Then, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m, Santa will make his way outdoors to the fountain where he’ll pose for photos with those on his “nice” list.
A special pup-oriented photo event will take place on Saturday, December 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., inviting you to bring your favorite four-legged friend out for a photo with Santa. You’re encouraged to wear your best holiday outfit or ugly sweater for the Santa Paws event, where artists from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will also be onsite to draw free holiday pet portraits.
On Sundays (November 13 – December 18, 2016 from 4 -8 p.m.), Franklin Square hosts Seasonal Sounds, featuring choir songs, sing-a-longs, dance performances and more during select Electrical Spectacle intermissions. Check the square’s website for official times and performer details.
Other Festival Events
Guests of the Holiday Light Show can lookout for a ton of other events taking place all throughout the holiday season. See below for highlights of this year’s schedule.
Nutcracker Night: (Friday, November 18, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.) The Pennsylvania Ballet’s acclaimed The Nutcracker bring both the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mouse King characters to the square for a meet-and-greet and a night of crafting.
Santa’s Arrival: (Friday, November 25, 5 p.m.) Santa arrives for a special Friday night photo-opp. After snapping a Santa selfie, stick around for free crafting activities.
Frozen Night: (Friday, December 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m.) Come in costume and join Frozen‘s Elsa and Anna and WXPN Kids Corner host Kathy O’Connell and producer Robert Drake for a special night of fun.
Star Wars Night: (Friday, December 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m.) Chat with characters from Star Wars, before which you can join in on the ticketed Jedi Training (4-5 p.m.; $10), where attendees learn how to fight the force of Darth Vader and partake in other activities at the Franklin Square Pavilion.
Hanukkah Celebration: (Friday, December 23, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.) The night before Hanukkah begins, celebrate with dreidel games, latkes and more in celebration of the Festival of Lights.
New Year’s Eve Countdown Night: (Friday, December 30, 5:30-7:30 p.m.) Create New Year’s Eve crafts and partake in other festivities in preparation for New Year’s Eve.
For the complete rundown of special events, click here
For more holiday information at Franklin Square, click the button below.
In the neighborhood
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244 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Benjamin Franklin Museum
- Tin Angel
- Philadelphia CityPASS
- The Bourse
- National Museum of American Jewish History
- Museum of the American Revolution
- Second Bank of the United States
- Congress Hall
- Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
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