Media throws outdoor Bastille Day party

A young girl wears a black wig at Bastille Day celebration. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Media Arts Council (MAC) hosted its 6th Annual Bastille Day Celebration in downtown Media last weekend.

A part of its monthly second Saturday events, State Street was transformed into an arts-filled scene featuring professional theater presentations, visual displays, live music, dancing, children’s activities and crafts.

MAC observes Bastille Day as a historic event symbolic of the freedom that paved the way for, among other things, artistic expression. The Bastille Day celebration offered attendees of all ages a unique experience filled with art, music and lots of fun for the family.

More than 40 businesses participated, along with numerous artists, musicians and performers.

“Music was everywhere on the street! It was uplifting and people were breaking into dance on every corner,” said Media resident Kate Bundrick.

Bundrick has volunteered with MAC since February 2011 and currently serves as the 2nd Saturday Arts Stroll Coordinator.  

“MAC takes on Bastille Day to celebrate freedom, particularly of uninhibited artistic expression in all of its many forms,” she added.

Billed as the most exciting 2nd Saturday Arts Stroll of the year, MAC’s Bastille Day celebration commemorates France’s National Day. On July 14 in 1790, the French held a huge feast and official event to celebrate the uprising of its short-lived constitutional monarchy. The festivities took place as a result of what the French considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution.

MAC president, Chris Dietrich, explained why Media is the site of one of the Delaware Valley’s most celebrated Bastille Day events.

“By combining our 2nd Saturday Arts Stroll, the Dining Under the Stars evenings (held every Wednesday night through the summer), and an artistic twist to celebrating our independence, we create a mix of entertainment, history, artistic expression, music and fun for all ages right here along the trolley tracks,” Dietrich said.

With upwards of 5,000 attendees, MAC’s Bastille Day celebration has become “a true community event with collaboration between local businesses, citizens, government, artists and a wide variety of community organizations throughout Delaware County,” according to Dietrich.

“It takes a lot of people to put this show together, but the core group is made up of working board members from the council in collaboration with local businesses and the Borough government,” Dietrich said.

The evening began with a re-enactment of the Storming of Bastille by the historic reparatory Hedgerow Theatre. Guests leisurely walked State Street enjoying the creations of plein air (French expression for “open air) painters working in pastels, acrylics and oils to caricature artists drawing festival goers, face painters and jugglers.

Several acts entertained dancers and music enthusiasts including Silly Joe (Consiglio), The Lost Northern Tribe and Azure Wheel. Zydeco dance instructor Vince Masciarelli prepared participants for the featured live musical act, Pete Gumbo and Zydeco-a-Go-Go. As the Mid-Atlantic’s premier practitioners of Louisiana dance music, the group energized the crowd with their festive beats and lyrics sung in English, Spanish, Cajun and Creole French.

“I love seeing the street packed with all sorts of people from all walks of life enjoying a greater sense of place,” Dietrich said. “Media really is everybody’s hometown.”

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