Hop on down to South Street Headhouse District for some FREE, egg-citing family fun during Philadelphia's 88th Annual Easter Promenade on Sunday, April 21, 2019. Philadelphia’s oldest and largest Easter traditions invites you to join the pastel sea of bonnets, bow ties and bunny ears. Promenade down one of America’s most famous and colorful streets in this grand tradition that dates back to 1931. Master of Ceremonies Henri David, who has been at the forefront of the promenade for nearly 40 years, will return dressed from head to toe in his signature “mile high” and over-the-top Easter finery. Festivities include live music, dancing the Bunny Hop, appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cottontail, photos with the Easter Bunny, and famous best dressed contests on the. Children, adults and even pets can enter in more than a dozen categories to be named best dressed and best “razzle dazzle.” Celebrity judges include well-known names in fashion, radio and television. The parade itself kicks off at 12:30pm at the corner of South Street and Passyunk Avenue, with judging until approximately 2:00pm in Headhouse Square at 2nd Street. After the parade, enjoy brunch at restaurants throughout Queen Village, Society Hill and Bella Vista. Festivities are free! For more info, visit www.southstreet.com.
Philadelphia’s Easter Promenade is the region’s largest event on Easter Sunday. Over 2,000 people come out each and every year for a celebration that brings together people from neighborhoods all around the city and tri-state region.
Special guests will delight and surprise children of all ages. This year’s line-up includes Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cottontail, the Easter Bunny and the World’s Tallest Rabbit. Philadelphia Freedom Band will proudly march down South Street performing favorite tunes - including the famous Bunny Hop. The Bunny Brigade will have promenade goers dancing in the street - in a Bunny Hop that has gotten to be up to one block long. This year, look for a special new addition as the talented young ladies of The Royal Mix join the promenade line-up. These talented youth will then perform a live song at the promenade stage to kick-off the stage ceremony.
At the promenade stage, participants will walk the run-way and show off their Sunday Best. Participants will enjoy free Easter treats and winners will enjoy special prizes. Children and adults can enter to be crowned Best Dressed, Best South Street Razzle Dazzle or Best Easter Bonnet – even pets can win big if he or she is looking spiffy! Judging categories for 2019 will include:
Best Dressed Baby (Under 2 years)
Best Dressed Little Girl (2-5 years)
Best Dressed Little Boy (2-5 years)
Best Dressed Young Girl (6-12 years)
Best Dressed Young Boy (6-12 years)
Best Dressed Teen Girl (13-19 years)
Best Dressed Teen Boy (13-19 years)
Best Dressed Woman (20+ years)
Best Dressed Man (20+ years)
Best Dressed Family
Best Dressed Pet
Best Easter Bonnet
Best South Street Razzle Dazzle
Celebrity judges this year will include Patty Jackson from WDAS, Marilyn Russell from WOGL and DJ Robert Drake “Mr. Christmas” from WXPN. Other celebrity judges will be announced closer to the event on the South Street Headhouse District Facebook page.
While the South Street Headhouse District is the host of this city-wide celebration, the promenade has roots that go back to 1931 in Rittenhouse Square. The original promenade was drew thousands of participants and was the place to “see and be seen.” In the 1970s, a dapper dressed gentleman passing by was awarded a prize for “Best Lifestyle Expression.” This well-dressed gent was none-other-than jeweler Henri David - of Halloween. In the 1980s, when the city looked to relaunch the promenade after a dip in attendance, they turned to David for help. The first promenade led by David was a rousing success. In 1984, shortly after David helped relaunch the promenade with an exciting new energy, the city of Philadelphia ran out of money to host the event. South Street business association got word of the shortfall and stepped up to help David - as his shop at the time was located on South Street. The promenade took a detour to the Gallery Mall for several years and ultimately then moved to South Street proper. The event became officially organized by South Street Headhouse District - who has continued to organize the event since the 1990s. In 2014, South Street Headhouse District, with guidance from David, hired event planner extraordinaire Franny Price. Price was well known for organizing large scale events for up to 50,000 people - including Philly Pride Parade. Price, David and SSHD together continue this long-standing Easter tradition to this day.
While David has been with the promenade for nearly 40 years, he's not alone. Many families and neighbors have brought generation after generation to the festivities. Marlo Dilks, owner of SliCE and P'unk Burger, has been coming with her family for over 30 years. In fact, Marlo and Jason Dilks will bring their SEVEN girls - including their brand new baby Roma - to the 2019 promenade. For this family, they wouldn't even think about being anywhere else in the world on Easter Sunday. Warning, though, the Dilks come out to win! They start planning their outfits sometimes months in advance. Its part of their family tradition. The family has won multiple times - and their new "spring chick" Roma could be a contender for best dressed baby.
Over the years, while the promenade has become a tradition for families from all neighborhoods, it is also a tradition for Philadelphia's well-known Mayors - including Mayor Edward Rendell, Mayor Wilson Goode, Mayor John F. Street, and current Mayor Jim Kenney.
For more information about the Easter Promenade, visit www.southstreet.com or call 215-413-3713. Follow the Promenade fun on Twitter and Instagram at @officialsouthst #easterpromenadephilly
Don’t forget to visit Queen Village, Society Hill and Bella Vista restaurants before and after the promenade for Easter Sunday Brunch. Visit South Street Headhouse District on Facebook for updates on where to go for brunch, a list of all celebrity judges, and updates to the program.