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50 Free Events for Philly's July 4th Festivities

Wawa Welcome America 2019 will include free ice cream, cupcakes, hoagies and lessons on how to be a circus performer, along with fireworks, concerts and family friendly events over six days.



Philly prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July in style

Welcome America

There will be 50 free events as part of the six-day Wawa Welcome America festival this year and they start, as any party should, with free ice cream

On Saturday, June 29, Philly’s favorite ice cream makers offer a fun-filled day at Reading Terminal Market, complete with tastings, live demonstrations, contests and entertainment. Afterwards, families can head to Penn’s Landing for the first of three spectacular fireworks shows over five days.

Sunday, June 30, starts off with a day-long block party in Philadelphia’s historic district. Families can celebrate independence with fun and games, pop-up performances, live entertainment, and delicious treats from Philly’s favorite food trucks. The party starts at noon and lasts until 7pm.

Learn circus skills

Also that Sunday, Circus Midway at Fringe Arts will host a day of free workshops at Columbus Blvd. and Race St. Attendees of all ages will have a chance to learn basic aerial acrobatics, juggling, plate spinning, and tight-wire skills from teachers and performers of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. For younger children, there will be lessons in circus lasso and balancing challenges. Short circus performances will be featured throughout the event, including a show put on by the school’s Youth Troupe.

A favorite event of the festival is the annual Wawa Hoagie Day, which is set for July 2 at noon this year. Attendees can join Wawa in honoring our troops with an 8-ton hoagie salute, a hoagie building competition between police and firefighters, and, of course, free Wawa hoagies!

Through the week leading up to Independence Day, kids can join in PECO’s Go 4th and Learn programs, where they can have a fun, education-filled day of interactive games at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Park; participate in a day of service to help clean up Hunting Park; or join the Philadelphia Fire Department to learn about fire safety and unveil a new mural celebrating the oldest fire company in the nation.

Then comes the big day, the Fourth of July. Visitors to the Independence Visitor Center can celebrate America’s birthday with Betsy Ross and a free artisan cupcake from Termini Brothers Bakery. From there, celebrants can head to the Betsy Ross house for a Children’s Naturalization Ceremony during which thirteen children will take their oath of citizenship before the original Stars and Stripes.

The big bangs

This all leads into the main event. Philly will be celebrating Independence Day with a huge parade in front of Independence Hall. Immediately following the parade will be the Fourth of July Party on the Parkway, a massive celebration for all ages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The festivities, which include diverse food, live entertainment, and even a zip line above the Parkway, will culminate in the Wawa Welcome America Concert.

The concert is a star-studded evening featuring Grammy-award winners Jennifer Hudson and Meghan Trainor with the Philadelphia POPS BIG Band.  The festival will close out with one last fireworks display at 9:30 as the city wishes America a happy birthday.

Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek

A wide variety of other special events are available throughout the week, including free movie screenings, concerts, free museum days and giveaways. These are just some of the highlights of this year’s festival. For a full list of events visit the Welcome America Events Page. Come and join the fun and see why Philadelphia is the place to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Sawyer Thomson is an intern at MetroKids from Drexel University

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