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10 Days to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Philly

Events include history, film, music and more under one Independence Day umbrella.

If there is any American town that would know something about Independence Day, it would have to be Philadelphia.

So it isn't surprising that this city has scheduled 10 days worth of attractions to celebrate July Fourth.

“(It is) the nation’s largest, free July Fourth festival in the heart of America's birthplace, from June 25 through July 4,” according to Elizabeth Evans, public relations agent for the Philadelphia Wawa Welcome America event.

“There's no other place nationwide where families can experience the “Largest Free Concert in America”; two breathtaking fireworks displays; a "Go 4th and Learn" series offering free educational and interactive programs for young children and their parents; a day-long “Party on the Parkway” with blocks and blocks of exciting and educational activities, games, live entertainment and food for the whole family; the most diverse Independence Day Parade in the United States winding through the nation’s most historic square mile; and evenings under the stars with Philly at the Movies,” she said.

There’s a lot to cover when it involves Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America, so we’ve devoted running it down for you for this installment of Day Tripper, a weekly look at destinations that are out of town, but in reach, and worth the trip!

DAY TRIPPER DIGEST

Why it’s Worth the Trip: The kids are out of school, the Fourth of July weekend is approaching, and you want something to do that is as educational as much as it is fun. Wawa’s Welcome America slate promises all that and more.

How to Get There from Here: Click "get directions" on the map provided above and type in your location, and then click the "get directions" button.

You’ll Probably Get Hungry: On Wednesday, June 27, Wawa’s Hoagie Day (Independence Visitor Center Lawn at Independence National Historical Park, 520-525 Chestnut St., from noon–2 p.m.) promises sandwiches galore. Call ‘em subs, call ‘em “po’boys,” or just plain hoagies, but you’ll want one regardless of the name.

The Taste of Philadelphia Kickoff Featuring Jazz and Blues on the Waterfront, (Penn’s Landing, 301 S. Columbus Blvd., Friday-Sunday) is a signature three-day food sampling event. Each year, Taste of Philadelphia continues to expand its food offerings, family friendly activities, and free music entertainment.

In addition to some of Philadelphia’s most notable restaurants, Philadelphia’s famous 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 some of the nation’s most storied jazz and blues musicians–but also of the beautiful views of historic Philadelphia. 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 River Stage at Penn’s Landing and the Old City Stage at Front and Chestnut Streets.

Aside from these events, there are many restaurants in all these key locations around Philadelphia, and because the events are hosted by Wawa Convenience Stores, a hot coffee, fountain soda, or sandwich will never be hard to locate.

While You’re in the Area: On Thursday, June 28, The Mummers Museum (1100 South 2nd St., South Philadelphia, from 10 a.m.-noon), explains what exactly the Mummers are. Bring the whole family to this morning event to learn about the unique history and culture of Philadelphia’s New Year’s Day tradition.

On Friday, June 29, The Philadelphia Zoo (3400 West Girard Ave., from 10 a.m.-noon) invites visitors to come in with 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.  

And of course, with a town as steeped in history as Philadelphia, you’ll have ample opportunities to check out cultural, historic, and educational spots like the Franklin Museum and the Liberty Bell (a previous Day Tripper destination covered ).

When you have 10 days of things to you, there might not be a lot of time to take it all in (much less explain it all!), but we’re going to try!

From Monday, June 25 to Wednesday the 27, a series of “Go 4th” events are slated which will offer educational experiences for young children, a discussion about the importance of dairy culture on the early formation of America, various full-participation exhibits at the Please Touch Museum (4231 Avenue of the Republic, Tuesday, 10 a.m.-noon), and a day devoted to fitness.

Philly @ the Movies on Monday brings “The Great Gatsby” to Rittenhouse Square, 9 p.m. The Philly @ the Movies series offers visitors and residents the “blockbuster” opportunity to enjoy free, family-friendly cinematic classics on the big screen at great venues across the city. Bring the whole family to see the classic film “The Great Gatsby” starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Before the movie, enjoy a free fashion show at one of Philadelphia’s most “see and be seen” locations. Tuesday hosts “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” at the Piazza at Schmidts (1050 North Hancock St., 9 p.m). On Wednesday, one of Philly’s most recognizable scenes comes back to life in “Rocky,” (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 9 p.m.) the beloved boxing film shot in and around Philadelphia. On Monday, July 2, Philly @ the Movies screens “Why Did I Get Married?” Enjoy Tyler Perry’s 2007 hit at The Dell Music Center, North 33rd St., at 9 p.m.

On Saturday, June 30, the Taste of Philadelphia Concert and Fireworks Spectacular, (Sponsored by Adventure Aquarium, Penn’s Landing (301 S. Columbus Blvd, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.) brings local Philadelphia culinary favorites together for another day. Later that evening, a fireworks display, sponsored by Adventure Aquarium, illuminates the sky over the Delaware River. The Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival (Walnut West Parking Lot, at Columbus Boulevard and Walnut Street, noon-5 p.m., 6-9 p.m.) invites guests to enjoy an all-you-can-eat ice cream buffet benefiting the Joshua Kahan Fund, fighting to cure pediatric cancer. The admission is $7.

On Tuesday, July 3, 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 (at Independence Hall, 8 p.m.). Note: Concertgoers are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

On Wednesday, July 4, the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade (Throughout Historic Philadelphia, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.) starts the day’s presentations off. Party on the Parkway (Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 20th Street to Eakins Oval, noon-7 p.m.) is the highly-anticipated day-long celebration featuring blocks and blocks of exciting and educational activities, games, entertainment and food for the whole family until 7 p.m.

Finally, the Philly Fourth of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks (Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 20th and Eakins Oval, 7-10 p.m.) hosts hip-hop/soul combo (and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon house band) The Roots. The festival’s Musical Director Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson will perform alongside Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and more special guests, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Following this spectacular performance will be a fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

For more information, please visit www.welcomeamerica.com.

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