Philadelphia's annual July 4th celebration culminates with the country's largest free outdoor concert and fireworks display on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. (Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC)
Philadelphia, the city where America’s independence was born, is the best place to celebrate Independence Day.
This year’s Wawa Welcome America! festival is ten days long, kicking off on June 24 with a free waterfront concert by internationally known bassist Gerald Veasley plus the giant Taste of Philadelphia food fair, and continuing through July 4 with a full day (and night!) of patriotic festivities.
Philly 360 creative ambassador Questlove of The Roots is this year’s musical director, and he’s selected a stellar lineup of musical headliners. The Roots will be joined on the roster by special guests Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles and DJ Jazzy Jeff with even more to come.
Additional events at Penn’s Landing include a free Aaron Neville rock concert June 25 followed by the first of three spectacular fireworks shows (July 2 and 4 mark the other two shows). Plus, the super popular Sooper-Scooper All You Can Eat Ice Cream Festival takes place July 2-4; for $5 admission, you’ll be able to sample frozen treats from more than 20 ice cream and water ice companies.
June 29 is Wawa Hoagie Day, featuring a variety of Philadelphia and hoagie-centric activities including the building and serving of a 1¼ mile long hoagie, the search for the next Rocky look-alike as part of the “Philly @ the Movies Rocky Contest,” and a screening of the classic film, Rocky, at the conclusion of the Hoagie Day festivities. Click here for other outdoor movie screenings around the city during Wawa Welcome America!, and here for information on July 4 educational events.
As for Independence Day itself, the festivities start off with patriotic ceremonies at Independence Hall and commemorative events at the President’s House memorial site and end on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a concert by The Roots and a blockbuster fireworks show. And throughout the day, folks can catch the patriotic spirit with a parade through Historic Philadelphia, plus an afternoon of free fun during the Party on the Parkway.
Overwhelmed with planning the logistics of your July 4 celebrations? The value-packed Philly Overnight Hotel Package which includes free parking and other amenities makes it easy to enjoy two weekends of revelry. To book a hotel package and for updates on Wawa Welcome America! events, click here.
Wawa Welcome America!
When: June 24-July 4
Where: Locations vary
Cost: Mostly free
More info: www.welcomeamerica.com