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Summer beats

For the first time, a Wawa Welcome America celebration is coming to Northeast Philadelphia this Saturday.

Setting the stage: (From left) Stephanie Phillips, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Henon, Tara Gontek, Jim Lopardo, Lindsay Brzowski and Stephanie Bennett made up the committee to bring Wawa’s Welcome America music events to Northeast Philadelphia for the first time ever. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

For the first time, Wawa Welcome America is coming to Northeast Philadelphia.

This Saturday, the On the Delaware Music Festival will take place at Pennypack on the Delaware. The free event is packed with attractions like music, yoga, food trucks and activities for kids.

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“This event is about showcasing what’s going on in Northeast Philadelphia via a large event like this,” said Councilman Bobby Henon, who is helping to present the event. “It’s about what you get to introduce the rest of the community to as a result of a magnificent event like this.”

Music will be performed by 15 local acts continuously on two stages. The lineup includes Civic Minded Fools, H.M.S., Christine Irizarry and The Foolhardy, Secret Base Life, The Jesse James Sims Project, The SB Deluxe, Magnificent Birds of Prey, Paul Baroli Jr. Band, Karina Daza, Adventure Lost, Su Z, The Wayside Shakeup, Whiskeyhickon Boys and The Peace Creeps.

When choosing the acts, Jim Lopardo of Sandbox Music Group and SawTown Tavern made sure to emphasize choosing local acts.

“You can see a lot of great cover bands here in the Northeast, but there’s not a lot of opportunity to hear local original music,” said Tara Gontek, who served on the planning committee for the event. “We really wanted to bring that to the forefront.”

Wawa Welcome America is famous for hosting huge musical festivals featuring big names like Jay-Z and Beyonce at the Art Museum. This is the first time the festivities have crept up into this corner of the city.

“Northeast Philadelphia has nothing of this kind of celebration,” said Henon. “It’s all community driven and for the community. We’re hoping this festival will be the first of many, many more to come.”

The day will kick off at 10 a.m. with yoga on the pier with instructor Marghi Insignares. Music will be playing all day. Between jamming out and doing the Downward-Facing Dog, people will be hungry. Many food trucks and a beer garden will be onsite, including Gigi’s Boys, Have A Ball, Nick’s Roast Beef, Chef Johnny Bravo’s and Donut NV. Beer will be managed by The Grey Lodge Pub.

Attendees can bring their own water as long as the bottle is sealed. No other outside drinks are permitted. Free water will be available.

The planning committee wanted to ensure the event is family-friendly. There will be an all-day area for kids called Kid’s Corner, headlined by Kathy O’Connell, host of WXPN’s radio show Kid’s Corner. She will entertain youngsters 1–3 p.m.

A civic and community corridor will run along the riverfront. This will feature food and craft vendors, nonprofits and civic organizations.

“You realize there’s all these things happening in your backyard,” said Stephanie Phillips, executive director of Riverfront North Partnership.

“It promotes unity in the Northeast,” Gontek added.

The parking lot inside of the actual park will be closed off. Free parking will be available on the property immediately south of the park on the east side of State Road at 7737 State Road. Crossing the road will not be necessary when using this parking. Concertgoers can also be dropped off at the entrance gate of the park, which will only be open for drop-offs. Handicap parking will be available farther inside the park immediately before bag check.

The festival is presented by Henon, Riverfront North Partnership, Southeast Northeast — The SENE, Sandbox Music Group and Wawa Welcome America and is sponsored by PECO.

This event is just one endeavor by Phillips to drive traffic to the property. Upcoming summer events include free outdoor movies, a couple of Bikes, Beans & Beers and Paws By the River. Check out what’s going on at the riverfront at riverfrontnorth.org/events ••

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