Celebrating the Market's 125th Birthday
February 22, 2018 marks the 125th birthday of Reading Terminal Market. We’ll be having a year-long celebration that includes a series of special events and programming that will allow fans of the Market to “Celebrate Our Past, Experience Us Today, and Imagine Our Tomorrow”.
Diamond Speakers Series
Saturday, January 20, 11 am
The Shambles of Market Street: an Evolution of Philadelphia’s Public Markets
Join noted food authorities, Rick Nichols, long-time staffer at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Temple American Studies and History professor Ken Finkel, for an enlightening conversation on the Shambles of Market Street, the forerunner to the Reading Terminal.
The talk will draw on Finkel’s insights and research on the evolution of Philadelphia’s public markets with special attention to the bygone era of the shambles — the ancestors to our current grocery stores and supermarkets. Finkel will bring along historic images to illustrate the former businesses that gave Market Street it’s name and the grand market halls that foreshadowed today’s 125- year old Reading Terminal Market.
Rick Nichols was a long-term time staffer at The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was a member of the Editorial Board for several years and later, a food columnist whose pieces were regularly included in the annual anthology, Best Food Writing. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and is an adjunct instructor in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching journalism writing.
Ken Finkel is an astute observer of Philadelphia’s moods, quirks, and trends while also a professor of American Studies and History at Temple University. He has served as WHYY’s Executive Director of Arts & Culture Service, and as curator of prints and photographs at the Library Company of Philadelphia. He is the author of numerious books and exhibition catalogue. His essays on the cultural life of the city have appeared in a variety of newspapers and since 2011 the Philly history blog. A collection of his essays titled Insight Philadelphia will be published in 2018.
“Our 125th Birthday promises to be a year to remember for the Philadelphia’s oldest and most storied public market,” said general manager, Anuj Gupta. “This important anniversary allows us the chance to show our city and the world the Market is stronger, more vibrant, and continuing to evolve to meet the needs of our customers. The planned programming will delight long-time fans and introduce new audiences to the enchanting culinary experience that is the Reading Terminal Market.”
The festivities will kick off on February 22, 2018, the Market’s official birthday. The first event, 1893 Day, will transport visitors back to the day Reading Terminal Market opened. Guests can expect period costumes, penny-farthing riders, Victorian décor, and more. Hundreds of lucky customers will experience price rollbacks throughout the day when merchants will ring a bell and drop the price of an item to 1893 prices. Proclamations will be given by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and the PECO Crown Lights will be used to shine the celebratory message of Reading Terminal Markets birthday amongst the city skyline. The Saturday following 1893 Day is the annual Party for the Market where the celebration will continue. Guests are invited to attend the annual fundraiser and experience the Market after dark for one of the hottest events on the Philadelphia social calendar.
More public events are planned for throughout the year, all designed to thank the Market’s treasured loyal customers and introduce new customers to the Market. Diamond Day in June will boast a festive atmosphere complete with entertainment representing a variety of cultures and ethnicities, as well as food samples, special 125th birthday-themed discounts, giveaways, and free cooking demonstrations.
In September, RTM will host A Taste of the Market, a literal and figurative taste of what Reading Terminal has to offer customers whether it is their very first visit, they are regular shoppers, or they have not experienced the Market for many years. The festivities will span the Market and spill outside onto Filbert Street with food samples, entertainment, and live music.
In early 2018, the Market will put out a call to the public for the best “Market Memories” (engagements, chance encounters, first experiences). Several lucky customers will have their story featured in the RTM 125th Birthday time capsule and at other events throughout the year. Shoppers will also be encouraged to share what they want from the Market in years to come, which will be unveiled at a special public event in October called Reading Terminal Tomorrow. More details will be forthcoming about both campaigns.
In addition to these signature events, the Market will celebrate 125 years in other ways throughout 2018. There will be an entertainment series featuring live performances by artists representing music from each of the past 12 decades. The Market will host a speaker series featuring thought leaders in food and civic engagement to discuss topics from the past, present, and future. There will be a tasting and food demonstration series highlighting recipes from various time periods, as well as future food and cooking trends.
Future announcements will further detail the various events, special programming, legacy projects and other Market news in the coming months.
Customers will have the opportunity to purchase personalized commemorative plaques in the shape of the Reading Terminal Market diamond that will be prominently displayed for one year in the Rick Nichols Room. These plaques may be dedicated to a particular person, family, or group, and at the end of the 125th birthday year, these patrons will be able to take their plaques home.
Thank you to our sponsors for our 125th Anniversary: