The Penn Relays Carnival
The Penn Relays Carnival is the world’s first — and most widely recognized — annual relay meet.
Each year, this historic rite of spring draws crowds of up to 100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field. Here, spectators know they’ll see some of the world’s top track athletes compete — and often begin Olympic careers.
Both athletes and fans hail from all over the country and the world. There’s also an accompanying festival offering food and souvenirs.
Over the course of the three-day festival, top high school, collegiate, masters and even Olympic athletes take to Franklin Field for games like the 4 × 400 meters relay, javelin, pole vault, 100-meter dash, mile runs, sprints and more in hopes of bringing home a medal. Perhaps the most anticipated race is the USA vs. World series of elite races.
Both athletes and fans hail from all over the country and the world.
Tickets to the Penn Relays can be purchased online. Single-day tickets are available and attendees who purchase a three-day pass will receive a 20 percent discount off the single-day ticket price. Click the button below to purchase tickets.
To get to the event, take the Market-Frankford Subway line to 34th and Market streets and walk the few blocks to the track at 33rd and Spruce streets.
From the suburbs, SEPTA Regional Rail is one of the most convenient travel methods. Take the nearest line to 30th Street Station and it’s just a short walk to Franklin Field.
For those driving in, parking is plentiful. Parking garages are located at 3335 Chestnut Street, 4009 Walnut Street, 119 S. 38th Street and more. Street parking is also be available, but will be harder to find.
The Penn Relays’ status as America’s largest amateur track meet goes back to the very first running meet, held in 1895 to stoke flagging student interest in track and field. That event drew 5,000 spectators, the largest audience for a track meet in Philadelphia up to that time.
The Relays have played an important role in Philadelphia’s cultural life from the beginning. It was one of few major events that accepted African-American competitors, and it was one of the high points on the African-American social calendar.
For more information about the Penn Relays Carnival, including an event schedule and ticketing options, click the button below.
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