Welcome America, Inc. and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney have announced more than 50 free events that will create the six-day Wawa Welcome America festival. Taking place from Saturday, June 29 through Thursday, July 4, the 2019 festival will encompass free, multicultural and multigenerational, patriotic events throughout Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods.
Wawa Welcome America celebrates Independence Day in one of the nation’s most historic cities, bringing residents and visitors a variety of fun-filled and educational events.
The multi-day festival includes a robust lineup of concerts, fireworks shows, family movie nights, museum days, educational activities, continuous recognition of our nation’s heroes and much more. The Fourth of July commemorations and celebrations will conclude with Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks starring two-time GRAMMY® award-winning recording artist, Academy Award winning actress and best-selling author, Jennifer Hudson, performing alongside The Philly POPS® BIG Band and GRAMMY® award-winner Meghan Trainor, leading up to one of the city’s largest fireworks displays over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
WAWA WELCOME AMERICA 2019 FESTIVAL EVENTS:
Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party—A Philadelphia favorite, the day-long block party is a lively event full of music, art, entertainment, history, culture and food. Celebrate with free fun and games for all ages at the Kids Zone, enjoy dozens of food trucks, pop-up performers and other activities that make this a festival favorite. Sunday, June 30 from noon—7 p.m.
Free Museum Days – Twenty-two of Philadelphia’s museums, cultural institutions, and attractions willopen their doors free of charge, or, for an optional pay-what-you-wish donation, during the Wawa Welcome America festival. Courtesy of each museum and institution, attendees can access the largest number of museums in the festival’s 27-year history. Hours of complimentary entry vary per museum.
Saturday, June 29: Christ Church and Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department
Sunday, June 30: Rodin Museum, American Swedish Historical Museum, One Liberty Observation Deck, The Rosenbach Museum, Fort Mifflin—Freedom Blast!, and Circus Midway at FringeArts
Monday, July 1: Independence Seaport Museum, Museum of the American Revolution, and Photo POP Philly: Sweet Paradise at The Bourse
Tuesday, July 2: The National Constitution Center (free admission courtesy of Wawa, Inc.) and the African American Museum in Philadelphia
Wednesday, July 3: National Liberty Museum, The Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Penn Museum, Mütter Museum, Fireman’s Hall Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Photo POP Philly: Sweet Paradise at The Bourse
Thursday, July 4: Bartram’s Garden House and the National Museum of American Jewish History CHASE presents: “Philly @ the Movies,” Powered by NRG — This movie-night series brings Philadelphia’s neighborhoods blockbuster films outdoors for residents to enjoy. New this year, all four movie nights will feature the films on stunning LED jumbo screens. Pre-movie activities featuring trivia, giveaways and entertainment begins at 5:30 p.m. Screenings will start at an earlier time of 7 p.m. to create a more family-friendly experience. While supplies last, CHASE will provide complimentary blankets to moviegoers, but everyone is encouraged to bring chairs or picnic spreads for all movies except for Franklin Field where guests will enjoy the film from the bleacher stands; complimentary popcorn will be provided courtesy of CHASE. Philly @ the Movies series is produced in partnership with the Philadelphia Film Society. Universal Pictures films compliments of NBC10 and Telemundo62.
Sunday, June 30: Rocky, Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Monday, July 1: Invincible, Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania
Tuesday, July 2: Shrek, FDR Park, attendees are encouraged to take SEPTA Broad Street Line to the NRG Station (Pattison Ave)
Wednesday, July 3: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mander Playground Plus, a special, ticketed screening of Once in a Hundred Years: The Life & Legacy of Marian Anderson, winner of Best Documentary Feature at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival. Presented at the Philadelphia Film Center, the feature recounts the inspiring story of a Philadelphia musical icon who helped set the stage for the Civil Rights era. Wednesday, July 3 at 2 p.m.
PECO Go 4th & Learn—A dynamic event series presented by PECO will promote children’s reading and education through engaging activities, fun workshops and free books for all attendees supported by Books in Homes USA. Go 4th & Learn will launch Wawa Welcome America’s Inaugural Day of Service to promote community service and volunteerism with a day dedicated to cleaning Hunting Park.
Sunday, June 30: Independence Mall; Kids Zone at the Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party. From noon – 7 p.m.
Monday, July 1: Penn Park at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Penn Athletics; Games, pop-up classes and performances promoting healthy living, fitness, culture and the arts.
From 10 a.m.—1 p.m.
Tuesday, July 2: Hunting Park; Inaugural Day of Service park clean up. Hosted by Esperanza Academy. From 2—5 p.m.
Wednesday, July 3: Official unveiling of the design for a new mural celebrating the Philadelphia Fire Department —one of the oldest professional fire departments in the nation. This Mural Arts Philadelphia mural is sponsored by Wawa and the Philadelphia Fire Department. The event will also include fire and electrical safety tips and demonstrations, games and giveaways. From 10 a.m.—noon
Thursday, July 4: Aviator Park; Performances by local groups on the Multicultural Stage, acrobatic dunkers, face painting, arts & crafts and games. From noon — 7 p.m.
Live Nation KidNation—Live Nation invites kids to the Fillmore Philadelphia for a fun day of games and activities, giving the youth a peek inside the music industry alongside industry professionals plus fun giveaways, including tickets to upcoming shows, swag and more!
July 2 from noon — 6 p.m.
Wawa Hoagie Day—Title sponsor Wawa, Inc. presents an eight-ton hoagie Salute to Our Troops — named after the continuing focus of Hoagie Day — honoring our service members and hometown heroes, as well as recognizing Wawa’s long-standing partnership with the USO. Hoagie Day takes place at Independence Mall and the National Constitution Center Lawn, providing free hoagies and, for the first-time, a performance by the U.S. Army Field Band. Plus, “Hoagies for Heroes”, a hoagie-building competition between Philadelphia police and firefighters benefitting local charities. The day also features FREE admission to the National Constitution Center in honor of Wawa Hoagie Day. Tuesday, July 2 at noon.
CONCERTS & FIREWORKS SHOWS
Wawa Welcome America will present numerous free concerts throughout the week at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Commonwealth Plaza at the Kimmel Center, Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert; Penn’s Landing— The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” return to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing kicking-off the week is a patriotic concert. The performance concludes with a spectacular waterfront fireworks display over the Delaware River Waterfront. Wawa Welcome America Waterfront Fireworks are presented by Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Comcast NBCUniversal and Pyrotecnico. Saturday, June 29 at 8 p.m.
Gospel on Independence; Independence Hall—This soulful performance, featuring a choir ofmore than 100 talented singers from across the city, the Philadelphia Men’s Fellowship Choir and the debut of Sisterly Love, will delight and inspire guests of all ages. Sunday, June 30 at 7 p.m.
The United States Army Field Band; Penn’s Landing—Celebrate our nation’s freedom at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing with a moving concert by the U.S. Army Field Band and a riveting performance of “Let Freedom Ring”, the band’s musical salute to the birth of our nation. Kicking off the show, The Golden Knights, The U.S. Army’s official aerial parachute team, will jump before the band takes the stage! Don’t miss the stunning waterfront fireworks display choreographed to a rousing soundtrack featuring some of America’s great orators. Wawa Welcome America Waterfront Fireworks are presented by Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Comcast NBCUniversal and Pyrotecnico and will conclude the performance. Monday, July 1 at 8 p.m.
Kimmel Center’s Great American Party on the Plaza; Kimmel Center— Enjoy free performances on the Kimmel Center Plaza direct from the 2019/20 season. The event will feature festival-style activities and live performances from casts direct from Broadway and the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers all under the signature glass ceiling. Get your vocals ready and join in the Hamilton’s Hamiltunes Sing-a-long! Wednesday, July 2 from 5—7:30 p.m.
POPS on Independence—The beloved annual concert returns to Independence Hall with conductor Todd Ellison leading the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra in a patriotic, entertaining performance with Tony-nominated actress and singer Susan Egan, best known for her role as the original ‘Belle’ in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway and the voice of ‘Meg’ in Disney’s Hercules, among many other Broadway, television and film performances. The Philadelphia tradition draws thousands of Philadelphians and visitors each year. Presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, this performance is part of the POPS Salute Series, a portfolio of programs performed on American holidays, celebrating those who serve our country, its cities, and communities. Wednesday, July 3 at 7 p.m.
JULY 4TH CELEBRATION
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony – The City of Philadelphia’s Office of the City Representative and Independence National Historical Park will present the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall. This patriotic event includes a reading of The Declaration of Independence, where it was signed, and a rousing performance by the Philly POPS® BIG Band.
During the ceremony, Mayor Jim Kenney will present the fourth annual Magis Award to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of the award in their everyday life. Also recognizing a commitment to serving the Greater Philadelphia area, Wawa will announce the recipient of The Wawa Foundation Hero Award.
Of four finalists—After School Activities Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence, Esperanza, and Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports—the winner will be chosen by public vote and receive a $50,000 grant, while the three runners-up will each receive $10,000 grants. Begins at 10 a.m.
Salute to America Independence Day Parade – Starting at Independence Hall immediately following the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, 4,000 marchers, floats, and military personnel will process through the nation’s most historic square mile, presented by the Philadelphia International Airport. Begins at 11 a.m.
Other patriotic events throughout the day include the annual Let Freedom Ring Ceremony at Independence Hall, a ceremonial Liberty Bell Tapping, the 7th annual Birthday Party at the Independence Visitor Center followed by the Children’s Naturalization Ceremony at the Betsy Ross House.
THE PARTY ON THE PARKWAY
Families can enjoy five blocks of free entertainment, food and fun including an interactive Kids’ Zone featuring a zip-line, acrobatic dunkers, bungee jumping, games and delicious complimentary treats from Tastykake and Popsicle. The 21+ crowd can take advantage of multiple beer gardens serving a variety of drink options, as well as interactive activities, all on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Noon—7 p.m.
Chill Moody Music Stage—Returns to the Ben Franklin Parkway for the official Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert Pre-Show. The set, curated by Philadelphia Music Ambassador and Recording Artist Chill Moody, will spotlight Philly’s rising stars and invite artists from outside the region as well for a diverse and energetic experience. Noon—7 p.m.