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3 Jul 2015

Guide to Wawa Welcome America!

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July 3, 2015 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  The day-long Party on the Parkway will be packed with blocks of delicious food, interactive fun and more.  (G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)


Party on the Parkway and Philly 4th of July Jam & Finale Fireworks

As the official birthplace of our nation, there’s no better place in the country to celebrate the Fourth of July than right here in Philadelphia. The city’s signature Independence Day celebration, Wawa Welcome America!, returned on June 27 to July 4 with eight days of FREE family fun, including concerts, exhibitions, fireworks, parades and so much more.

In addition to dozens of patriotic celebrations that take place during Wawa Welcome America!, visitors can gear up for July 4th with a citywide celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement. The 2015 Welcome America festivities culminate on Saturday, July 4 with a massive Independence Day-themed party along Philadelphia’s famous Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the annual Party on the Parkway and Philly 4th of July Jam and Fireworks celebrations.

Party on the Parkway

Time: Noon-7 p.m.

Location: Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th Street to Eakins Oval

Head to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to celebrate America’s Birthday with a massive block party featuring live music, family-friendly activities, games, food and so much more. Shop the impressive selection of vendors and food trucks that will line the Parkway and enjoy performances by national and local talents on the two live music stages. Also, keep an eye out for live demonstrations from the extreme pogo troupe Pogopalooza and interactive sport activities courtesy of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Road to Rio Tour.

Questlove Stage & Global Music Stage

Again this year, the Party on the Parkway will host two stages of live music programming. A mix of national and local talents will perform at the Global Music Stage and the Questlove Stage, which is curated by Philadelphia’s favorite drummer and DJ, Questlove of The Roots. Check out this Philly 360° guide to view the full lineup for the 2015 Questlove Stage.

Road To Rio

As part of the Party on the Parkway, Olympic Team USA athletes will join the U.S. Olympic Committee in Philadelphia for the first stop of the Road To Rio. This touring event brings the magic of the Olympic Games to life by through meet-and-greets with Team USA athletes, interactive activities like long jump, high jump and high dive, and other Olympic themed fun for the entire family. The event will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Philly 4th of July Jam & Grand Finale Fireworks

Time: 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Concert: Starts at 7 p.m. (first performance at approximately 8 p.m.)

Celebrate America’s birthday with the “Largest Free Concert in America.” Starting at 7 p.m., The Philly 4th of July Jam concert, anchored by Philly band The Roots, kicks off with performance by R&B/pop star Miguel, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, pop group MKTO and singer/songwriter Zella Day. The show culminates with a stunning fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

PLEASE NOTE: All fireworks shows and events are scheduled rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, follow @July4thPhilly on Twitter and Wawa Welcome America on Facebook for up-to-the-minute information.

The fireworks finale at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is sure to draw a massive crowd, so be sure to stake your spot out early. Check out our interactive guide or continue reading for a few of our favorite spots to catch the show:

July 4th FAQ

When should I arrive for the closing concert and fireworks?

We suggest that concert-goers arrive at least an hour prior to the 7 p.m. start time for the Philly 4th of July Jam. Getting there by 6 p.m. or before will allow you time to find the best location to view the stage, screens and fireworks display.

What time does the concert start?

The Philly 4th of July Jam begins at 7 p.m. and takes places on Eakins Oval directly in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

What time do fireworks start?

Fireworks begin after the concert ends, typically between 10:20 and 10:35 p.m.

What are the best places to watch the fireworks?

You can stake out a spot anywhere along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Circle to Eakins Oval. The entire street is shut down in honor of the celebration. Tip: Try to grab a spot at the baseball fields at 22nd and the Parkway. You can get more information on fireworks with this comprehensive Fourth of July fireworks guide.

What’s the best way to get there?

City officials urge the public to either walk to the events or take SEPTA. Public transportation is an easy way to get in and out of Center City. SEPTA will operate additional service on July 4th to assist festival-goers. All SEPTA Regional Rail, bus, trolley, Market-Frankford and Broad Street Line services will operate on a Sunday schedule on July 4th, with additional late-night service to accommodate concert-goers. Also, SEPTA will extend Regional Rail service for customers leaving Center City after the fireworks display on the Parkway.

What should I bring if I’m coming for the Party on the parkway?

Party on the Parkway attendees are encouraged to dress comfortably for this event and to carry water in order to stay hydrated. Be sure to grab some cash so that you can shop the many vendors and food trucks that set up along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

What should I bring if I’m coming for the concert and fireworks?

If you’re headed to the concert and finale fireworks, be sure to bring a light, portable folding chair or blanket. You may also want to carry water or other non-alcoholic beverages and your favorite snacks to share with friends.

Can I bring a folding lawn/beach/camping chair?

Yes, concert attendees are encouraged to bring along folding chairs. Since you may have to walk a bit to find the perfect spot to watch the show, we suggest that you find light and portable seating options.

Can I bring a cooler?

To ensure a fun and safe festival experience, city officials are urging the pubic to refrain from bringing alcohol, coolers, open containers or cooking equipment.

Can I bring a picnic basket?

Spectators are strongly discouraged from carrying bags, backpacks, coolers or satchels of any kind. However, if you do so, please ensure that you use clear bags and clear containers for safety purposes.

Can I reserve a space on the parkway with chairs or a blanket?

No. You cannot leave bags or other items unattended.

Can I barbecue on the Parkway?

Grilling and outdoor cooking will not be allowed. However, if you’d like to cook outdoors and enjoy the firework on July 4th, then head over to Fairmount Park.

Can I bring alcohol?

No. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted.

How much security will there be?

To ensure a fun and safe festival experience, the vicinity of the Parkway and concert (a boundary from at least 20th and the Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Museum) will be firmly secured and protected for maximum public safety. Throughout July 4th, the city will provide a strong presence of law enforcement and emergency medical services.

Getting There & Getting Around

Street Closures

Many streets will be closed for July 4th celebrations in Philadelphia, so officials highly encourage visitors to utilize public transit to get into Philadelphia over the holiday weekend. On July 4th, the entire length of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will be closed to traffic from 5 a.m.-midnight. The Parkway will remained closed from 20th-25th Streets through Sunday, July 5 at approximately 6 a.m. A limited-access perimeter (event participants and residents only) will be established on the Parkway from 18th Street to 25th Street and on Race Street to Pennsylvania Avenue from 5 a.m-midnight on July 4th.

Public Transit

City officials urge the public to either walk to the events or take SEPTA. Public transportation is an easy way to get in and out of Center City. SEPTA will operate additional service on July 4th to assist holiday travelers. All SEPTA Transit Service, including its bus, trolley and subway service, will operate on a Sunday schedule. Regional Rail lines will run on a Saturday schedule on both Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4. On Saturday, service will be added on many lines to accommodate travelers heading to and from events in Center City.

SEPTA Service

Market-Frankford and Broad Street Subway: Additional trains will be added on each line beginning at 4 PM, Saturday, providing service every 5 to 7 minutes through 1 a.m. on Sunday. Regular weekend “Night Owl” rail service will be effect throughout the holiday weekend, providing trains every 20 minutes until 5 AM on Saturday and Sunday. 15th Street Station on the Market-Frankford Line and City Hall and Race-Vine Stations on the Broad Street Line provide easy walking access to and from the Parkway.

Broad Street Line: Eight additional trains will provide service every 5 to 7 minutes beginning at 4:28 PM. These service levels will remain in effect through 1:15 AM. Overnight subway service will be in place throughout the holiday weekend with service operating every 20 minutes until 5 a.m. Spring Garden, Race- Vine and City Hall Stations provide easy walking access to the Parkway.

Regional Rail: SEPTA will extend Regional Rail service for riders leaving Center City on Saturday night after the fireworks display on the Parkway. Eighteen trains will depart from Suburban Station between 11:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.

Trolley: Additional trips on Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will be added on Saturday evening headed to Center City before the concert and fireworks show on the Parkway, with additional trolleys departing Center City on each line after Parkway events end.

Buses: Riders should be on alert for detours in and around Center City that will begin as early as 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. Fifteen lines will be affected including Routes 5, 7, 9, 17, 21, 32, 33, 38, 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 57 and 61. These detours will remain in place until well after events on the Parkway have ended. Specific line-by-line changes have been posted on the System Status page of After the fireworks show on the Parkway ends, additional bus service leaving Center City will be added on some bus routes as needed.

For those traveling into Center City for the day, SEPTA’s Independence Pass offers unlimited one-day travel on SEPTA services ($12 for an individual pass; $29 for a family of up to five people traveling together). For the latest route updates, schedules and travel information, follow SEPTA on Twitter @SEPTA_SOCIAL, call (215) 580-7800 or click the button below.

PHLASH Trolley

PHLASH trolley transportation is an inexpensive, convenient way to visit attractions in Center City ($2 per ride; $5 all-day). The PHLASH service will operate on on a revised route for July 4th. For travel to July 4th events on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, riders should use the stop at LOVE Park. For the complete holiday route, call (800) 537-7676.

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