HomeNewsWelcome America will kick off summer in Philly

Welcome America will kick off summer in Philly

Salute to Service: U.S. Army Field Band & Soldiers Chorus featuring LeAnn Rimes
Wawa Hoagie Day
Gospel on Independence featuring Tamela Mann

Welcome America Inc. has announced a lineup of talent, new and returning programming, free family-friendly events and more for the 2024 Wawa Welcome America Festival, Philadelphia’s annual July 4 celebration.

The festival will feature an expanded lineup of free multicultural and multigenerational events throughout Philadelphia and will culminate on July 4 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a free concert featuring three-time Grammy Award-winning R&B performer and songwriter Ne-Yo and Grammy-nominated musician Kesha.

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The concert will be performed at 7 p.m. in front of a live audience on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and broadcast on NBC10. The concert will be followed by Philadelphia’s largest annual fireworks display over the Ben Franklin Parkway, beginning at 9:30 p.m. Entry to the July 4 concert and fireworks is free, and tickets are not required. However, tickets are required for the front section, closest to the stage.

Prior to the concert, there will be a collaborative performance by DJ Diamond Kuts and Snacktime Philly on the Pennsylvania Lottery Groove Stage on the Parkway from 4-6 p.m.

All guests must enter at Logan Circle at 20th Street through the secure checkpoint, including magnetometers. Bags and beings are subject to search.

Philadelphia’s most notable museums, cultural institutions and attractions will open their doors free of charge, or, for an optional pay-what-you-wish donation, throughout the entire festival.

The 2024 festival will feature programming such as concerts, fireworks, block parties, complimentary museum access and Wawa Hoagie Day.

Here are some of the highlights:

• Celebration of Innovation and Education, in partnership with Jefferson on Tuesday, June 25, from 3-7 p.m., at Jefferson Plaza, 12th and Chestnut streets – In honor of Jefferson’s 200th Anniversary, the public is invited to the new Jefferson Plaza in Center City for an afternoon celebrating innovation and education with free family friendly programming for all to enjoy. Founded in 1824 as one of the nation’s first medical schools, Jefferson has grown to become a national global research university with more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs, and the region’s largest health system. Visit July4thPhilly.com for more information.

• Rocky Movie Night, in partnership with Independence Visitor Center & One Cathedral Square, on Wednesday, June 26, from 6-9 p.m., on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway – A Wawa Welcome America tradition returns. Fans of all ages can again enjoy a free screening of the timeless classic, Rocky, on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Guests are encouraged to come early to experience the new Rocky Shop and enjoy food and drinks from local food trucks and the pop-up beer garden produced by the Constellation Culinary Group. Free snacks will also be available courtesy of UTZ and Tastykake.

Attendees can immerse themselves in the spirit of Rocky by participating in one of two free 30-minute Rumble Boxing classes at the base of the steps. From first time boxers to elite fighters, all are welcome, no matter their current fitness level. The two Rocky-themed free classes will offer an intense, dynamic shadow boxing and strength training workout set to old-school favorites and new school beats. Advance class registration is encouraged. Visit july4thphilly.com to pre-register. Activities, including the Rumble Boxing classes, will begin at 6 p.m. Movie will begin at 8 p.m. 

• Avenue of the Arts Block Party, presented by PNC and in partnership with the Ensemble Arts Philly, on Saturday, June 29, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., of Broad Street, between Walnut Street and Pine Street — The Avenue of the Arts comes to life with entertainment, art, food and more. Enjoy high-powered entertainment on the PNC Arts Alive Stage and the Pennsylvania Lottery Groove Stage from local and world-renowned artists, including Carla Gamble, Javon Newman, Omar Wilson, Verbosity, WeRRedemption, Will Elsworth and winners from the I AM PHL contest presented by PhillyGoes2College and Vanguard. Snap a photo in an iconic coach’s chair from NBC’s The Voice, take a stroll down “PNC Arts Alive Alley,” showcasing local artisans, or peruse “Philly Fresh Market,” where locally sourced delights await at the farmers market. Kids and kids-at-heart can immerse themselves in “Avenue of Amusement,” filled with nostalgic carnival games and thrilling entertainment for all ages or indulge in the art of fashion with a free show from Philly Fashion Week. Guests can treat themselves with light therapy and sound meditation with Modern Wellness at Well-being on Wheels presented by Independence Blue Cross, along with nutrition takeaways. Furry friends can also join in the fun. Avenue of the Barks, hosted by Emancipet nonprofit veterinary, will feature dog-friendly games, dog wading pools to cool off in, vendors and more. The Kimmel Center’s free Party on the Plaza will feature a patriotic performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra.

• Our America Now: Speechless GrandSlam – Who is the “Best Philly Storyteller?” on Saturday, June 29, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. This season, these Philly storytellers wowed audiences with amazing stories never saying sorry for who they are. Now, it’s time for them to compete for $250 and bragging rights for the year. Join host Betty J Smithsonian and guest judge Lamarr Todd for a night filled with the best stories in Philly. This event is free and is presented as part of the First Person Arts Festival. Pre-registration required.

• The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Concert & Waterfront Fireworks on Saturday, July 1, at 8 p.m. — The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will put on a patriotic, all-star concert followed by a fireworks display over the Delaware River Waterfront.

• Our America Now: Beautiful/Anonymous with Chris Gethard on Tuesday, July 2, from 7-9 p.m., at Independence Concert Stage presented by Visit Philadelphia, Independence National Historical Park, 6th and Market streets – Experience the Beautiful/Anonymous podcast live. One phone call. One hour. No names. No holds barred. Join Chris Gethard as he takes a live phone call from an anonymous caller. This event is free and is presented as part of the First Person Arts Festival. Pre-registration required.

For full festival schedule and information, visit www.july4thphilly.com. Follow along on social media leading up to the festival for more announcements in the coming weeks – Facebook: Wawa Welcome America, Instagram and Twitter: @July4thPhilly ••

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