Promoting the Parkway
Public Relations

Promoting the Parkway

By Sue Hamilton

Parkway sign
It’s a fun memory. The event was the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Beaux-Arts Ball. It was in October, near Halloween. There was a combined group from the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (where I was working) and Philadelphia magazine, each of us holding high a green sign attached to the top of a pole. White letters spelled out Race, Market, Avenue of the Arts and others. Parading across the stage to Bruce’s song, we were the “Streets of Philadelphia”, and our entry won first place in the group costume division.

Fast forward 20 years and it’s a much bigger stage as our client, the Parkway Council, prepares to shine a spotlight on what many feel is Philadelphia’s most loved destination of them all — the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The occasion is the centennial of Philadelphia’s grand cultural axis, and I’m enjoying spending a lot of time on the Parkway these days, doing event planning and fundraising with Judi Rogers, the Parkway Council’s executive director. Together with the museums, attractions, residences and businesses of the Parkway Museums District, the Parkway Council will present Parkway 100—14 months of exhibitions, events, community conversations, and promotions to mark the milestone. It begins with the Parkway 100 “We are Connected” Festival on September 8, 2017, and continues through the finale on November 16, 2018, so mark your calendars and refer often to for the latest news and events.

Throughout the celebration, we’ll all have the chance to learn more about the history of the creation of the Parkway, talk about its future and celebrate all of the things that make the Benjamin Franklin Parkway so special to us – whether that’s art, culture, science, horticulture, education, recreation or all of the above. Hearing from residents and visitors about what they love about the Parkway will be a key element of the celebration, with lots of opportunities for people to share their own Parkway stories, memories and pictures. Communications in all its forms will play a role in telling the history and in sharing stories as well.

In thinking about my own Parkway memories, I can picture so many of them. (Did you also buy that fun pencil with the little stones inside it on your first school trip to the Franklin Institute?) The museum events and exhibitions I’ve attended on the Parkway are more than I can count. I’ve watched fireworks from behind the stage on the Fourth of July, volunteered to assist photographers covering Live 8, and helped break a Guinness World Record for the largest LEGO logo during the X Games. I’ve showcased the Parkway Museums District and its attractions to journalists, tour operators, travel agents and convention attendees – on foot, trolleys and double-decker buses, with plenty of pictures taken on the Rocky steps – and bragged about the Parkway at international tourism trade shows. Crossing the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon is one of my proudest accomplishments, but planting bulbs at Logan Square with the Horticultural Society was fun, too. Sitting on a bench and taking in the beauty of the Swann Memorial Fountain will always be one of my favorite Parkway things to do.

How about you? What makes it into your Parkway highlights reel?

For inspiration, take a look at this video, produced by History Making Productions, for a view of some of the things we love about the Parkway.

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Sue Hamilton

Sue Hamilton