Amy Needle, President of Historic Philadelphia, discussed history as a tourism booster and a fun family activity. She spoke on the vision of former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, to create destination points out of the city's historic assets. Historic Philadelphia manages the Betsy Ross House, 13 story-telling benches throughout the old city district, tours of the Independence Hall through partnership with the Federal Park Service, and the nearly-abandoned Franklin Square. For the latter Historic Philadelphia raised funds to refurnbish the park, restoring the fountain, adding lights, a carousel, a restaurant and a miniature golf course featuring Philadelphia landmarks. Since the park's restoration it has become a destination for events such as the Chinese Lantern Festival and the fall Pumpkin Patch, but also neighborhood enjoyment. Amy spoke about the new campaign to completely restore the fountain and add a lights and water disply, part of a capital improvement project. She discussed the use of the Betsy Ross house for educational as well as fun events and how the Once Upon a Nation storytellers link the site toghter and prompt inquiry into the lesser known early Philadelphians, including women and people of color. Finally a conversation about this year's holiday evebtns, including the 'Tippler's Tours' and Betsy Ross Birthday Party, plus the Holiday Festival events at Franklin Square, the daily Electrical Spectacle Light Show, the Lightening Bolt Express Train, the Winter Beer Garden, Friday celebrations of Hanukkah, and Kwanza, Santa Saturdays, and 'Seasonal Soundsa' Sundays. Many events are free or involve a small cost to cover food or crafting materials. Finally, every year they celebrate the New Year with families fr the the 6pm fireworks displays.
For information about any of the annual - and year-round events and activities sponsored by Historic Philadelphia visit HistoricPhiladelphia.org.