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Celebrate the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s Centennial With Parkway 100

The big celebration of the parkway's 100th birthday starts Friday.

It’s the big 100 for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the party for Philly’s Champs Élysées is going to last a whole year. Parkway 100 kicks off this week for 14 months of fun events.


The centennial celebration, hosted by the Parkway Museums District, starts with the We Are Connected Festival on Friday, September 8, from 4 — 10 pm. It’s essentially an interactive, real-life connect-the-dots puzzle along the parkway to various museums, historic sites, dance parties, children’s activities, and more.


Museums along the parkway will be open with extended hours for free or reduced admission. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Franklin Institute will all be open and free to the public from 4 — 9 pm; the Barnes Foundation and the Rodin Museum will be open until 9 pm with pay-what-you-wish admission; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be pay-what-you-wish from 4 — 8:45 pm.


For kids, there will be a Dino Dance Party hosted by the Academy of Natural Sciences, as well as a Create a Cardboard City project, live animal workshops, balloon parades, and a music playshop. For adults, there will be live music, photo walks hosted by Philadelphia photographers, and curated talks by local historians and horticulturalists. Each museum will be hosting special events throughout the evening as well.


Don’t feel like walking up and down the whole parkway? The Phlash bus is offering $2 festival passes for 10 stops along the parkway with service every 15 minutes, so you can pick and choose exactly where you want to go.


Parkway 100 is not only one day: it is the beginning of a 14-month celebration featuring the art, music, and education that make the promenade so popular. Through November 2018, various spots along the parkway — including Friends Select School, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Barnes, and the art museum — will be hosting specially-curated exhibits and events featuring the centennial theme, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul will host concerts throughout the year.


Two art instillations will grace the parkway from late September to March. “Fireflies” by Cai Guo-Qiang will be composed of 27 pedicabs with over 900 lanterns with free rides on select evenings with a reservation from September 15 — October 8, and “Winter Fountains for the Parkway” by Jennifer Steinkamp will run from December to March, featuring five new fountains with illuminated video animations relating to the museums and spots along the parkway.


Parkway 100 will end with concerts, tours, café talks, and more.


Information on the We Are Connected Festival can be found on the festival’s website and more information on the Parkway can be found on Parkway 100’s website.

Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia.