Hear Philly: South Street Easter Promenade

By Dan Majka

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Sunday, April 5, hop on down to South Street for one of Philadelphia’s oldest traditions, the South Street Easter Promenade.

“It’s been around for 83 years,” says Michael Harris with the South Street Headhouse District, “and we’re celebrating its 84th annual this year on Easter Sunday.”

As always, the event kicks off with a parade down South Street beginning at 12:30pm.

“It starts at 5th (Street) and Passyunk (Avenue). It’s led by our emcee, Henri David, who is a great showman,” Harris says. “He leads the crowd down the street to the 2nd Street Headhouse Plaza, which is located between South (Street) and Lombard (Street) on 2nd Street. And there we have a stage set up for a variety of costume contests.”

Harris says thousands of people are expected to fill the Plaza to take part in the festivities, including the parade.

“It’s led by not only Henri David but the Philadelphia Freedom Band,” he says. “There’s a Bunny Hop down the street, stilt walkers, and it’s just a real fun celebration. Everyone gets dressed up, they’re in their Sunday Easter best, and they come down the street, and then it culminates in this costume contest that gets a lot of people excited and is a really big tradition here in the area.”

(Credit: South Street Headhouse District)

(Credit: South Street Headhouse District)

A tradition, Harris says, that people really go all out for, with prizes being awarded in 12 different categories.

“We have babies and infants. We have young girls. Always the most popular one is the young girls in their Sunday dresses,” he says. “We have families, so whole families get dressed up. And then we have offbeat things, like the best pet costume, as well as most South Street oriented, so, you know, the funkiest, if you will, the more fun and kind of interesting costumes.”

Don’t worry about working up an appetite. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy a fabulous brunch on South Street at a number of great spots.

“A lot of restaurants around here have brunch specials,” Harris says. “If you look at our website, we’ll be promoting the brunches that will be happening on the Plaza within the South Street District. You can go, have a great meal, get a Mimosa or Bloody Mary and then come over for the festival.”

And what would any Easter event be without the Easter Bunny?

“The Easter Bunny is always there. He makes his appearance and helps out in the parade,” Harris says. “We have a bunch of Easter Bunnies actually with the Bunny Hop, but there’s only one Easter Bunny, obviously, so he’ll be there, as well.”

(Credit: South Street Headhouse District)

(Credit: South Street Headhouse District)

If you’ve never been to South Street Easter Promenade, Harris says, come out this year and be part of a longstanding, family tradition.

“Certainly, in a lot of cases, generations have been doing this,” he says. “For 84 years, you have parents who are bringing their kids and they were brought as kids. Not until I was in this job and really working on this event did I realize that this has sort of a generational and long-term tradition to it, which is really cool, and we’re proud to keep it going.”

The South Street Easter Promenade is rain or shine, and its free and open to the public. For more information visit southstreet.com or follow them on Twitter @offficialsouthst.

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