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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday Special - Historic Philadelphia - Announcement of New Holiday Light Show for Franklin Square


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IT’S ELECTRIC! FRANKLIN SQUARE TO DEBUT HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW FOR WINTER EVENINGS IN THE SQUARE

PHILADELPHIA, October 10, 2013 – Historic Philadelphia, Inc. announces a brand new holiday nighttime light show to debut in Franklin Square for the 2013 holiday season. Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show is a new tradition for the holidays sparked by Benjamin Franklin’s imagination and will be the key to fun in Franklin Square this season. Funded by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, the Show will bring visitors to Franklin Square throughout November and December to experience one of Philadelphia’s most popular public spaces.  Providing an original twist on typical holiday light shows, Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle is designed specifically for the Franklin Square space, incorporating an electric 10-foot tall kite and key, highlighting Benjamin Franklin’s famous electricity discovery in his namesake Square, and thousands of lights programmed to winter-themed music.  Media and the public are invited to the Opening Night of Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show at 5 pm on Thursday, November 14, 2013.  Benjamin Franklin will ignite the light show in grand style for this illuminating new tradition.

Celebrations Throughout the Square and Season
Winter time fun will envelop all of Franklin Square to celebrate the holiday season from November 14 – December 31, culminating in the traditional family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration.  Other additions to the season will be holiday music playing on the Parx Liberty Carousel, warming stations in Philly Mini Golf and seasonal fare.  The centerpiece attraction will be Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show, the free light show that will illuminate the Square nightly.  The Square’s nighttime magic will begin at 4 pm, with the first showing of Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle igniting at 4:30 pm. The light show will create holiday charm in the Square on every half hour every evening (weather permitting) from November 14 – December 31, 2013.   Eight shows will run each night, with the first one at 4:30 pm and final show at 8 pm.  Two different seven-minute shows will alternate throughout the evening.  Special attractions, guests, and holiday traditions including Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa will all add to the celebration.  Promotional partners who will provide entertainment and family activities throughout the season include Christ Church, African American Museum in Philadelphia, National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Arden Theatre Company. Look out for special VIPs to countdown the Show throughout the season.

Take a festive train ride around the Square with the Lightning Bolt Holiday Express to enjoy the sights of the season. Tickets are $5 adults/$4 children. The Lightning Bolt Holiday Express comes to Franklin Square on Saturdays and Sundays, November 16 - December 29 from 4 - 8 pmSanta Claus will be in Franklin Square with free appearances on Friday, November 29, and Santa Saturdays, November 30 – December 21 from 4 - 7 pm.  B101 is the radio partner for Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle.  B101 Buzzbee and the B Crew will make appearances with a varying schedule of fun to the Square including music, balloon animals, and games. Visit historicphiladelphia.org for a complete list of all special events and activities.

Amy Needle, President and CEO of Historic Philadelphia, Inc., said, “At Historic Philadelphia, Inc., we know that young and old from around the region have come to love Franklin Square in the summer, fall, and spring. Thanks to the support of the William Penn Foundation, we are expanding our operation into the winter season and hope that guests from the entire Greater Philadelphia region will join us for this new holiday tradition.”

Fun Facts
Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show will boast over 50,000 lights.  The display will feature a sculptural kite flying high above the fountain reenacting Benjamin Franklin’s famous electricity experiment. LED lights will dance to music down a custom 250-foot sculpted kite string and hundreds of feet of holiday garlands, which will cover the Square.  The historical Franklin Square Fountain will be incorporated into the show with programmed LEDs under water, adding a magical flair.  The displays will utilize over 10 miles of copper wire, and a sound system that will play over 4000 watts of holiday music. The show operates on the typical power available in a U.S. home and takes almost two weeks to program by hand.  The programmer’s mouse traveled the equivalent of over 3 miles to set all the cues and blinks for the Spectacle.

With the brand new light show and the heated Pavilion in Franklin Square, holiday parties in the Square will be the city’s newest hot spot for 2013.  The 36-foot by 36-foot Pavilion, opened in 2012 is climate-controlled, or in nicer weather, all of the French doors can open to take advantage of the Square’s setting.  The Pavilion can be rented for holiday and birthday parties, corporate events, and special events, by reaching out to historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square/plan-a-party/. 

New Year’s Eve
The Franklin Square Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown is a family-friendly version of the famous New Year’s Eve celebration with a dropping “square” in lieu of the famous ball.  Families are invited to enjoy music and crafts beginning at 3 pm on December 31 in Franklin Square.  The event culminates with an exciting countdown to 6 pm with the lowering of the New Year’s Eve Square from its perch high above SquareBurger.  Guests have a great view of the Penn’s Landing 6 pm fireworks from the Square. (FREE) The Square Drop, which started in 2010, has become a delightful family tradition which includes family fun and fireworks.  The 2-foot by 2-foot cube sits 30 feet above the ground atop its perch on SquareBurger and is lowered during the countdown. It contains over 1,200 lights in the colors of the Franklin Square logo.  Kids can enjoy dancing and music in the Pavilion in Franklin Square after the fireworks, and the park will remain open until 8 pm, with the final showing of Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show. (Note, there will not be a 6 pm showing of Electrical Spectacle as the Square Drop and fireworks will happen at 6 pm. All other showings will take place as scheduled.)

SHOW DEVELOPERS AND FUNDER
The new attraction is being produced by Historic Philadelphia, Inc., the non-profit organization that manages and operates Franklin Square.  The display was designed by Parker 3D of Scotch Plains, New Jersey. The team was led by creative director John Carter whose holiday window designs have been seen in Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue among others.  Mr. Carter was named by the New York Times Magazine as one of 30 artists most likely to change culture for his environmental interactive sculpture.  The final concept was developed in collaboration with Parker’s 3D industrial designer Gregg Nelson and the whole Parker team.

The William Penn Foundation was one of the first supporters when Historic Philadelphia, Inc. planned to renovate the Square in 2006 and has continued to supports its growth to build attendance and grow operations.  In 2012, the William Penn Foundation gave Historic Philadelphia a grant to create the Pavilion in Franklin Square which doubled its birthday party and special event business.  Now in 2013, the Foundation has provided a grant to create the new Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show. 

According to Shawn McCaney, Senior Program Officer at the William Penn Foundation, “The Foundation is very interested in new models and approaches to activate and increase the use of existing parks and public spaces in Philadelphia. The appeal of the Electrical Spectacle is that it helps to make Franklin Square a year-round, all-season public space for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors.”

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, works to close the achievement gap for low-income children, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. With assets of nearly $2 billion, the Foundation distributes approximately $80 million in grants annually. Learn more about the Foundation at www.williampennfoundation.org.


Historic Philadelphia, Inc. holiday packages and gift packages are available. Visit historicphiladelphia.org or Franklin Square’s ticket office for more information.  Sponsorships for Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle are still available. Contact Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s development office at (215) 629-5801 ext. 207

Fun family entertainment and a beautiful park are just steps away from the Liberty Bell, in one of William Penn’s original five squares, and the only one dedicated to fun.  Award-winning Franklin Square, managed and operated by Historic Philadelphia, Inc., is a family-friendly play place located in the heart of Historic Philadelphia, featuring Philly Mini Golf, a renovated vintage marble fountain, playgrounds, the Parx Liberty Carousel, and the acclaimed SquareBurger, with offerings from STARR Restaurants.  After a day of experiencing the treasures of  Philadelphia’s history, putt through some of the city’s most famous icons, take a ride on hometown racehorse heroes Afleet Alex or Smarty Jones aboard the carousel, enjoy a rest next to the refreshing fountain, and dine on the finest burgers and shakes in town.  Awarded Best of Philly® two times by Philadelphia Magazine and one of the Five Coolest Playgrounds in the United States by Yahoo! Also named Best of Four Square 2012 for Philadelphia Entertainment and Best of Style 2013 by Philadelphia Style for “Philly’s Best Photo Op.” The Philadelphia Inquirer recently called Franklin Square, “One of the city’s great public spaces.”

Franklin Square is located in Historic Philadelphia at 6th & Race Streets.  Franklin Square hours for November and December are: November 1 – November 13: 10 am - 5 pm, daily, November 14 – December 31: 10 am - 8 pm, daily (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). All hours are weather permitting. Convenient parking for Franklin Square is available at EZ PARK, 9th & Race Street, just blocks from Franklin Square.  Historic Philadelphia, Inc. guests enjoy an exclusive price of just $7 for up to six hours by asking for a voucher at Franklin Square’s ticket office.

Franklin Square is an initiative of Historic Philadelphia, Inc. (HPI).  HPI makes our nation’s history relevant and real through interpretation, interaction, and education, strengthening Greater Philadelphia’s role as the destination to experience American history.   Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s programs include the Betsy Ross House, Once Upon A Nation storytelling and immersive walking tours, Franklin Square, and Lights of Liberty.  For more information, (215) 629-4026 or visit www.historicphiladelphia.org or buy tickets in person at the Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th & Chestnut Streets.  Follow Franklin Square at twitter.com/FranklinSqr or on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/FranklinSquare.


We will be posting a review of Historic Philadelphia at a later date.