What better place is there to celebrate the Fourth of July than in Philadelphia, the very city where our nation began? People of all ages are invited to experience Wawa Welcome America!, the City of Philadelphia’s free July 4th Festival, from June 24 – July 4, 2011. With 11 patriotic days packed with free events, a full-scale parade, fireworks, history, live entertainment, food, culture and pageantry, there is fun for the whole family.
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony
The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony will take place on the steps of Independence Hall at 6th and Market Streets from 10am – 11am on July 4th, 2011. Celebrate our nation’s 235th birthday with a patriotic salute! Music, speeches and a reading of excerpts from the Declaration of Independence will pay tribute to the history of our nation. Also, Miss America 2011 will sing one of our country’s famous songs.
Wawa Welcome America!’s Independence Day Parade
With more than 4,000 participants from a dozen states, 16 marching musical groups, nine floats, five military branches and a multitude of special guests, Wawa Welcome America!’s Independence Day Parade is the most diverse Fourth of July parade in the country. The impressive Parade kicks off at 11am on July 4th, 2011 and winds through the nation’s most historic mile.
New this year is an extended Parade route to 9th Street with optimal viewing, along with a variety of show-stopping musical performances on elaborate floats, from the Hoh Japanese Drummers to the Minas Brazilian Dancers and Drummers. Mattatuck Drum Band from Connecticut, founded in 1767 and the oldest fife and drum band in America, will proudly play the music of our founding fathers, and a cast of patriots include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Ben Franklin.
Set to make this year’s parade unforgettable is a “Salute to the Armed Forces” float with active duty enlisted soldiers and officers from the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard and veterans by the hundreds. The salute will be led by the Pennsylvania Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycles, a group that pays homage to African American soldiers who fought as early as the Spanish American War.
Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan, Grand Marshal Major General Craig of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Mayor Nutter and Miss Pennsylvania are among the roster of special guests, and Wawa will recall its earliest days with its antique dairy truck. Additional highlights include the Northern Lights Home School Marching Band from Michigan and the Cotter High School Marching Band from Minnesota!
Due to the popularity of the Parade, the route is expanded by two blocks. It marches through downtown Historic Philadelphia, stepping off at 11 am at 5th and Chestnut Streets immediately following the July 4th Independence Day Ceremony. The procession heads up Chestnut Street, passing Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, turns right on 9th Street, then proceeds one block north to Market Street where it turns right again. Once on Market Street the parade marches six blocks downtown though Historic Philadelphia and ends at Front Street.
The array of entertaining, patriotic and multicultural marchers, music, dancers and floats will dazzle and impress all. For more information, visit: www.welcomeamerica.com/independence-day-parade/
Party on the Parkway
This event will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 20th to Eakins Oval from 12 noon to 7pm on July 4th, 2011. Bring your flags, patriotic spirit and plenty of energy to the day-long festival with blocks and blocks of exciting and educational activities, games, entertainment and food for the whole family! The highly anticipated Party on the Parkway offers three Music Stages: the ?uestlove Stage with Chin Chin, Nicos Gun, Reiss, Kindred and the Family Stone, and Don T.; the Go 4th & Learn Stage with hip hop break-dancers and pop vocalists for teens and tweens and the Global Music Stage with headliner Anthony Colon and AMLA Salsa Orchestra and performances by the Caribbean Steel Drum Band Alzonia & The Steel Source, the Nrithasree Indian Dance School and the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble.
The Party on the Parkway also features the MHP Liberty Strongman Classic; crowds can marvel at incredible feats of strength as “strong men” compete and haul concrete cylinders, pull trucks and lift thousands of pounds. In addition to entertainment and activities, food vendors will fill the Parkway offering delectable dishes from all corners of the globe to popular Philadelphia favorites. Find out why Philadelphia is the place to be on the 4th of July!
Philly’s Fourth of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks
Philly’s Fourth of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 20th and Eakins Oval from 7pm – 10pm on July 4th, 2011. Four-time Grammy award-winning band The Roots will headline Philly’s 4th of July Jam! The band and the Festival musical director ?uestlove will perform their set as well as sets with special guests Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more! The concert will also include a special tribute to the 40th Anniversary of Gamble and Huff’s iconic Philadelphia International Records, “The Sound of Philadelphia.”
The all-star cast of musicians will perform nearly every genre of music from R&B and hip hop to rock and funk for the largest free concert in America, followed by a spectacular fireworks show, with the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a dramatic backdrop. You don’t want to miss this concert, on the last and biggest night of Wawa Welcome America!
For more information, visit: www.welcomeamerica.com