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April 05, 2022

The Easter Promenade returns to South Street after a pandemic hiatus

The parade isn't the only holiday festivity taking place on the corridor. An egg hunt offers the chance to win gift cards to nearby businesses

Holiday Easter
Easter Promenade Hughe Dillon/For PhillyVoice

After a two-year delay due to COVID-19 concerns, the 89th annual Easter Promenade will return to South Street on April 17. The event kicks off at 12:30 p.m. at Fifth and South streets. It concludes at Headhouse Plaza.

The 89th annual Easter Promenade, one of Philadelphia's oldest and dearest holiday traditions, returns to South Street on Sunday, April 17 for the first time since 2019. 

Master of Ceremonies Henri David will be dressed to the nines, as always, as he leads the procession to Headhouse Plaza. People are encouraged to dress in their Sunday best and join the free, family-friendly event. 

RELATED: Celebrate Easter with brunch service at these Philly restaurants and bars

The Easter Sunday tradition traces its roots to Rittenhouse Square, where it was established in 1931 following the success of parades in other U.S. cities, including New York City. 

The suit-and-tie processions of the mid-20th century fell out of favor in the 1970s, Billy Penn reported. For many years, the Easter Promenade was simply a fashion show that attracted fewer and fewer participants. 

During the 1980s and 1990s, David — a former contest winner — became the event's primary organizer, helping it gain new life. For several years, the Promenade was held inside the former Gallery indoor mall before it eventually landed on South Street, where it has been a staple of the city's spring celebrations.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year, the Promenade will kick off at Fifth and South streets at 12:30 p.m. Participants will join Mr. and Mrs. Cottontail as they walk to Headhouse Plaza at Second and Lombard streets. 

The Easter Promenade's "best dressed" contest winners will be revealed at the end of the day. There are categories for babies, children, adolescents, adults, families and pets, as well as "Best Easter Bonnet." 

Contest winners will receive gift cards to South Philly businesses including Scoop DeVille, Head House Books, Philly AIDS Thrift, Spread Bagelry/Cozette Pizza, YOWIE, Ham+Bone, Queen & Rook, Moon+Arrow and NEWSBOY Hats. 

Plenty of South Philly restaurants and bars have Easter Sunday specials planned for the day. Bridget Foy's, at 200 South St., provides a direct view of the Promenade. Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. and dinner service starts at 4 p.m. 

Guests can watch the festivities from their seats while they try Bridget Foy's specials, including Easter ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and béarnaise. The restaurant also will serve its rainbow pastel multi-layered Easter cake. 

Other nearby restaurants with Easter service include Positano Coast at 212 Walnut St., The Olde Bar at 125 Walnut St., and Amada at 217-219 Chestnut St. Additional Easter brunch options in the city are available here

Bridget Foys EasterCourtesy of/Aversa PR

Bridget Foy's is hosting Easter Sunday brunch and dinner service on April 17, and guests can check out the Easter Promenade from their seats.

The South Street egg hunt – in which artists, business owners and students decorate and hide paper eggs in storefronts – is underway. People who find the eggs can enter a drawing to win $50 gift cards and a $1,000 grand prize basket by posting a picture to Instagram with the tags @southstreetphilly and #SouthStreetEggHunt.

The egg hunt began Friday, April 1 and runs through Easter Sunday. Here's an interactive map filled with hints on where to find the hidden eggs. 

89th Annual Easter Promenade

Sunday, April 17
12:30 p.m. | Free
Fifth and South streets
Philadelphia, PA 19147