Whether it is July 4, 1776 or July 4, 2012, Philadelphia is the only place to celebrate America’s birthday. People of all ages are invited to the City of Brotherly Love to make a lifetime of memories at Wawa Welcome America! — the nation’s largest, free 4th of July festival — from June 25 to July 4, 2012. With 10 patriotic days packed with free, family fun, Philadelphia rolls out the “red, white and blue” carpet to area natives and visitors from the Greater Philadelphia region and across the nation.
The event schedule follows below for dates June 29 -July 4. All events are free and family-friendly, unless otherwise noted.
Friday, June 29
Go 4th & Learn about Animals The Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 West Girard Ave. 10 AM – 12 PM. The final Go 4th & Learn event invites children to visit more than 1,300 rare and endangered animals from around the world at “America’s First Zoo.” Kids will discover educational experiences, entertaining activities and interactive fun while learning about the many different animals that call the Philadelphia Zoo home. A limited number of tickets are available for this event. Parents can reserve a space for their children by visiting welcomeamerica.com and filling out the Go 4th & Learn form. PHL Photo Exhibit Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal A-East, 10 AM Presented in partnership with the National Constitution Center, the exhibit spotlights 47 Americans whose actions have shaped constitutional history.
Taste of Philadelphia Kickoff Featuring Jazz and Blues on the Waterfront Penn’s Landing, 301 S. Columbus Blvd, 5 PM – 9 PM Wawa Welcome America! invites visitors and Philadelphians alike to ignite their taste buds at Taste of Philadelphia, a signature three-day food sampling event that begins this evening. Each year, Taste of Philadelphia continues to expand its food offerings, family friendly activities and free music entertainment – with 2012 set to be the “biggest bite” for food lovers yet. In addition to some of Philadelphia’s most notable restaurants, Philadelphia’s popular food trucks will line the Chestnut Street bridge offering a unique twist on the traditional sidewalk cart.
As guests dine on local favorites, their eyes and ears will take “note” – not only of the sounds of jazz and blues musicians but also of the beautiful views of the waterfront. Entertainment and admission to Penn’s Landing for Taste of Philadelphia are free — with bite-sized dishes from restaurants and food trucks offered at a few dollars each. Throughout the duration of Taste of Philadelphia, world-class blues and jazz artists will entertain guests on two stages — the RiverStage at Penn’s Landing and the Old City Stage at Front and Chestnut Streets. Friday night’s musical line-up will include Laura Izibor and more!
Saturday, June 30
Taste of Philadelphia Concert and Fireworks Spectacular, Sponsored by Adventure Aquarium Penn’s Landing, 301 S. Columbus Blvd, 11 AM – 10 PM. Local Philadelphia culinary favorites are served up for another day as numerous artists light up the stage with their performances. During the afternoon, Taste attendees will be the first to hear performances from the finalists of the 2nd Annual Wawa Welcome America! Singer/Songwriter Competition. The acts will perform before Philadelphia music industry judges on the RiverStage in the hopes of being crowned the 2012 winner.
PHOTO: Gerald Veasley.
Later that evening, Regina Carter and Philadelphia’s own, Gerald Veasley, will delight guests with what are sure to be an awe-inspiring jazz performances. Taste will end with a bang – literally – as a brilliant fireworks display, sponsored by Adventure Aquarium, illuminates the sky over the Delaware River. Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival Walnut West Parking Lot, at Columbus Blvd. and Walnut Street, 12 PM – 5 PM, 6 PM – 9 PM.
Guests are invited to enjoy an all-you-can-eat ice cream buffet benefiting the Joshua Kahan Fund, fighting to cure pediatric cancer. $7 donation is required to enter.
Sunday, July 1
Taste of Philadelphia Gospel Sunday Penn’s Landing, 301 S. Columbus Blvd, 11 AM – 7 PM. The third round of local culinary favorites at the Taste of Philadelphia celebration dishes out food for every taste bud, courtesy of local eateries. Guests will enjoy the sights of the Delaware River waterfront and the sounds of some special gospel choirs, who will perform inspiring and uplifting sets along the waterfront at the RiverStage. Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival Walnut West Parking Lot, at Columbus Blvd. and Walnut Street, 12 PM – 5 PM Guests are invited to enjoy an all-you-can-eat ice cream buffet benefiting the Joshua Kahan Fund, fighting to cure pediatric cancer. $7 donation is required to enter.
Monday, July 2
Philly @ the Movies – “Why Did I Get Married?” The Dell Music Center, North 33rd Street, 9 PM. Once the sun goes down, the big screen goes up for a night of movie entertainment under the stars. Enjoy Tyler Perry’s 2007 hit, “Why Did I Get Married?,” at the Dell Music Center.
Tuesday, July 3
Mural Arts Paint Day Independence Lawn at The Independence Visitor’s Center, 1 N. Independence Mall West, 2 PM – 5 PM. People of all ages are encouraged to tap into their artistic side and participate in Wawa Welcome America!’s Mural Arts Paint Day, offering participants the opportunity to grab a paintbrush and paint a portion of the “The Roots Mural Project” as part of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts program. The mural will be displayed on Independence Lawn at The Independence Visitor Center for the special Paint Day, and the finished project will then be dedicated as part of a block party during Mural Arts month in October 2012. “POPS! on Independence” Independence Hall, 8 PM Peter Nero and the Philly Pops!® return to celebrate America’s birthday in America’s birthplace with “POPS! on Independence,” a free concert at Independence Hall. As one of Philadelphia’s most popular Fourth of July traditions, seating is first come, first served. Concertgoers are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs.
Wednesday, July 4
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony Steps of Independence Hall, 6th and Market Streets, 10 AM – 11 AM. Visitors can pay tribute to our great nation with a celebration including music, inspiring remarks and a reading of excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, among other special elements.
Philadelphia Independence Day Parade Throughout Historic Philadelphia, 11 AM – 12:30 PM. An annual Philadelphia classic takes freedom to the streets with hundreds of participants from states across the nation, including marching bands, floats, military organizations and several special performing teams. This visual feast is the most diverse 4th of July Parade in the country, and people of all ages will surely enjoy the patriotic pageantry as it winds through the nation’s most historic square mile.
Guests are invited to witness patriotic pageantry as more than 5,000 participants from across the nation celebrate America’s birthday in America’s birthplace. This year’s parade features a “Heroes Salute” honoring the 10thAnniversary of 9/11 – The United States Military, veterans, firefighters and police officers.
Party on the Parkway Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 20th Street to Eakins Oval, 12 PM – 7 PM. The highly anticipated day-long Party on the Parkway kicks off at noon on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th Street to Eakins Oval, featuring blocks and blocks of exciting and educational activities, games, entertainment and food for the whole family until 7 PM
The festival offers three music stages, a wealth of music programming throughout the day, sporting events, an art pavilion incorporating an array of eclectic talent that performs and interacts with the crowd and many more activities. A Go 4th & Learn area for children presented by Radio Disney also will be offered, bringing education to life through interactive games, make-and-take arts and crafts, a Radio Disney Music Stage and face-painting. Food vendors will fill the Parkway cooking up delicious food to delight the whole family.
PHOTO: Queen Latifah and Common.
Philly 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 20th and Eakins Oval, 7 PM – 10 PM. The Roots will serve as the house band for the Wawa Welcome America! Philly 4th of July Jam – “The Largest Free Concert in America.” The festival’s Musical Director Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson will bring an incredibly talented array of the brightest and boldest talent on the national music scene including Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and more special guests, to perform alongside The Roots on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Following this spectacular performance will be an amazing fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
One new attraction this year at Philly @ the Movies is a preview of the new “The Amazing Spider-Man™” by Rave Motion Pictures at 4012 Walnut St. at a date to be announced later. Stay tuned, Spidey fans. Be among the first to watch, as one of the world’s most popular characters returns to the big screen and a new spellbinding chapter in the Spider-Man legacy unfolds. A limited number of ticketed Wawa Welcome America! guests will have the opportunity to see this film before the film is widely released on July 3. Wawa Welcome America! is a multi-day festival that celebrates America’s birthday in America’s birthplace, Philadelphia, and is produced by Welcome America, Inc. For more information, please visitwww.welcomeamerica.com, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wawawelcomeamerica or follow us on Twitter at @July4thPhilly.