The multi-day Wawa Welcome America Festival with Hoagie Day and special events at the Mummers Museum
America’s big day is less than a week away, and the multi-day Wawa Welcome America celebration, taking place between South Philly and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is just getting started today. We are talking about everything from movies, yes, including “Rocky,” kid-friendly activities, food-centric fun, and of course, the big bash on the Parkway featuring Mary J. Blige and South Philly’s own Boyz II Men. Instead of counting down to the Fourth, start celebrating today by enjoying this smorgasbord of free-to-attend events.
For a complete listing of events, visit welcomeamerica.com.
A Wawa Welcome America tradition
When talking Wawa, what is the first image that pops into your mind? Hoagie, of course (coffee was the №2 answer)! Today marks the 25th annual Wawa Hoagie Day honoring U.S. troops at the National Constitution Center. The 6-ton hoagie salute will be the talk of the town. Police and firefighters will go head-to-head in a hoagie building competition of enormous proportions. Check out a performance by the USO Show Troupe, too. As an added bonus, the National Constitution Center is open for free courtesy of Wawa. Noon-2 p.m. 525 Arch St.
Strut down to Second Street
Why wait until New Year’s Day when you can celebrate with the Mummers tonight? The popular PECO GO 4th & Learn program returns to the Mummers Museum where Philadelphia residents and visitors can look forward to a fun evening learning about the oldest continuous folk parade in the United States. We’re talking instruments, costumes, dancing and more. Hang around for the free weekly Mummers Concerts Under the Stars with a special performance by the Quaker City String Band. Free to attend. 6 p.m, 1100 S. Second St. mummersmuseum.com.
Join the Minions
“Despicable Me 3” may be opening in theaters tomorrow, but no ticket is required for tonight’s Philly @ the Movies screening of “Despicable Me 2” at the Piazza at Schmidt’s Commons. No Minion costumes required. 8–11 p.m. (screens go up at sundown). 1001 N. Second St.
June 30, July 1 and July 4
Do you love fireworks? Well, if you answer with a resounding yes, you are about to get spoiled like a Disney princess. We are talking four shows over the course of six days. The 2017 Fourth of July celebration is going to be a blast. The first two shows are June 30 and July 1 at 9:30 p.m. over the Delaware River Waterfront. The eye-opening spectacle in the sky can also be seen from SugarHouse Casino and One Liberty Observation Deck.
But every great performance needs an encore, and America’s grand birthday bash will be no exception. There will be simultaneous shows over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the Schuylkill River and The Freedom Festival Fireworks at Wiggins Park (in Camden, N.J.) over the Delaware River Waterfront. 9:30 p.m.
Mural Arts Philadelphia gives the first glimpse of Monument Lab, featuring a sneak preview of Philadelphia artist Kara Crombie’s monument, Sample Philly: an interactive sculpture with a sound bank of musical loops drawn from the city’s rich musical history. Enjoy live music and refreshments, and chat one-on-one with the artist and curators in Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th St. Free. 1–4 p.m. monumentlab.muralarts.org.
Cheers to the 4th
SugarHouse Casino’s Red, White & Brew is a new addition to the Welcome America festivities. This one will feature a perfect pairing of great food, drinks and entertainment by Mo Lawda and Humble on the scenic Delaware River Waterfront. As an added bonus, hang around to watch the fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Free to attend. 5–9 p.m. 1001 N. Delaware Ave. sugarhousecasino.com.
The U.S. Army Band Pershing’s Own, known for thrilling audiences with their rousing and rollicking renditions of Patriot tunes, returns to entertain the Philly crowd with a free concert at Penn’s Landing. Fireworks will follow, with Jerry “The Geator with the Heater” Blavat taking the crowd on a journey choreographed to a soundtrack of popular artists from the tri-state area. 8 p.m.101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Watch “Rocky” on the Rocky steps. Tap into your inner Rocky Balboa and participate in a fitness challenge and watch boxing demonstrations. Ages 6–60 can enter a Rocky look-alike contest to win tickets to the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert Fan Zone. The night will include other activities based on the iconic Philly character, including the screening of the movie! 8–11 p.m. Free. Steps at Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Watch the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps on the museum’s outdoor plaza. Once you have gotten your music fill, take a tour of the museum’s exhibits and learn about the Revolutionary War. Visitors can sign the museum’s personalized Declaration of Independence, and receive a pocket-sized Declaration and a miniature of Washington’s standard flag. This is part of the museum’s series of events to celebrate Independence Day. Noon-3 p.m. Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd St. amrevmuseum.org.
Patriotic POPS Performance
Celebrate Independence Day eve with the 65-piece POPS orchestra as it performs a patriotic set list. Featured vocalists are Tony DeSare and Mandy Gonzalez, actress of the Tony award-winning musical “Hamilton.” Bring a blanket and some snacks for a fully enjoyable night outside. 7–11 p.m. Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St. phillypops.org/concerts-events.
Independence Day Block Party
It is time to turn the holiday celebration into high gear. The event will include three stages for performances, games for kids and other activities, clothing and crafts sales and more! The Kimmel Center will also have a performance preview of the 2017–18 Broadway Philadelphia season. Noon-7 p.m. Free admission. Independence Mall, 5th and 6th streets between Chestnut and Market streets.
Family Movie Night
Forget about the movie theater. Head to family-friendly Franklin Square for a free screening of “Sing.” You may even find yourself singing along. 9–11 p.m. Screens go up at sundown. 200 S. 6th St.
Celebration of Freedom
Fourth of July in Philly would simply be incomplete without a special ceremony where it all began — Independence Hall. Mayor Jim Kenney will present the Magis Award to Philadelphia Hometown Hero Ralph Galati. CAPA grads Boyz II Men will also be honored for their achievement in music and philanthropy. The Grammy-winning performers will read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence. 10–11 a.m. Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets.
Independence Day Parade
Celebrate America’s independence with marching bands, military groups, floats, banners and a lot of patriotism. Join the crowds and show your red, white, and blue. 11 a.m-noon. Free. Independence Mall, Chestnut St. between 5th and 6th streets.
Hang with the Kidz Bop Kids
Sirius XM subscribers may be familiar with the catchy tunes from the Kidz Bop Kids who are on their Best Time Ever tour. Want to see them for free? Be by the main stage on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 1 p.m.
Party on the Parkway
A full day of music suited for all ages! For even more fun, the party will include the Strider Bikes Obstacle course, Zipline, games, arts and crafts, and more. Pet owners can bring their animals to the Amtrak Pet Friendly area. The venue has two beer gardens to enjoy drinks while listening to the music. Noon-7 p.m. Free admission. Eakins Oval Main Stage, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Hitting a high note
The annual July 4th Concert on the Parkway is the highlight of the Wawa Welcome America celebration, drawing A-list performers to entertain the crowd of thousands. This year is no exception with R&B superstar Mary J. Blige headlining the show. This year’s free concert will honor Philly’s own Boyz II Men. 7–9:30 p.m. 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Fireworks to follow.