Thursday, June 16, 2011

JULY 4TH 2011 EVENTS IN PHILADELPHIA - Highlights That Make Me Happy

Yesterday at Penns Landing a press conference was held to release a few more details about the 11-day Wawa Welcome America! festival kicks off on June 24 and continues through July 4 with a full day (and night!) of patriotic festivities.I think I've told you in previous posts that the July 4th Holidays are my favorite. For years, even before I was PhillyChitChat, I usually try and make it to at least half of all the events that the City has put on regarding this great birthday celebration for our nation. After attending the press release and reading all the material I can honestly say this year is going to be the best year. This year there are dance contests, free entertainment venues all over the City, iconic performances including one by Nancy Wilson at the Dell (fee because it is the Dell after all and we need to support the venue.) THREE Fireworks Displays, three. WOW, love that. My favorite of course is at The Philadelphia Art Museum, that's why I moved into the high rise across the street so I could enjoy it every year. And I do. Lot's of kids activities including Go 4th & Learn, Ice Cream Festival, Festival on The Parkway and did I mention fireworks?This year since I am doing blogging full time nothing is gonna stop me from attending even more events, and I hope I see you there too. Just call out "Hey PhillyChitChat" and I will be over to photograph you and get a little story on July 4th and your favorite events during the Wawa America's Birthday Celebration. City Representative Melanie Johnson spent a good half hour telling us about the new events going on this year, as if what was provided in the past wasn't enough they sure did add more to the agenda. Kicking off the 10 day celebration is The Taste of Philadelphia. A three day free event where restaurants, vendors and food trucks (Tuesday I saw a new cupcake truck.) will be sharing a little taste of Philly. There may be a fee for some of the tastings, but Wawa will be giving out free samples of their new signature smoothie. And Wawa will be having a contest to see who has the smoothest dance moves in Philly.
Peter Nero (on right) and the Philly Pops perform a free concert at Independence Hall on July 3. Behind Mr Nero is one of the guys from the Strongman competition. They're returning again this year. You'll recall I wrote about them in 2008 here. People love this competition and to this day I still get a dozen hits on this entry weekly.
A new event this year is a singer-songwriter competition for unsigned talent. The winner gets to perform on the Parkway and cut a demo with Grammy-winning Philadelphia producers Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias. The singer must be unsigned, unrepresented and the work must be original. Here's the link to the contest for all you future Justin Beiber or Carrie Underwood's http://www.welcomeamerica.com/contest/
After the growing success of The Wawa Welcome America!’s Independence Day Parade it will expand two additional blocks to accommodate the more than 4,000 participants from a dozen states, 16 marching musical groups, nine floats, five military branches and special guests. The Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on July 4 and winds through the nation’s most historic mile.
A few of the food trucks that will be participating in the Taste of Philadelphia event. I'll also be tweeting all the events and giving you ideas of transportation, the crowd size, events going on and answering any questions you might have so follow me on twitter or follow the July 4th folks at
The Wawa Hoagie Day is Wednesday June 29, noon-2 p.m., Independence Visitor Center Lawn. The first Wawa Hoagie Day was held at this same location in 1995 (I was there and have photos somewhere I'm sure. It was the last event held there before they started the construction on the the Independence Visitor Center and The National Constitution Center. BTW the NCC is having a great exhibition on George Washington that kicks off on July 1, right in time for the July 4th celebrations.
ABC6's Lisa Thomas Laury and Wawa's Lori Bruce, Wawa Director of Public Relations. Party on the Parkway: July 4, noon-6 p.m. Music, dancing, cultural activities, arts and crafts and live entertainment make for an afternoon of (free!) family fun. Stick around for the 4th of July Jam and Fireworks (see above).
"The Fourth of July on the Parkway should be (to Philadelphia) what New Year's Eve in Times Square is to New York," Questlove said in a statement. Did I mention that Wawa America's Birthday culmnates in a gigantic party on the Parkway with a fabulous concert that ends with the most spectacular fireworks. This year Philly 360 creative ambassador Questlove of The Roots is this year’s musical director, and he’s selected a stellar lineup of musical headliners. The Roots will be joined on the roster by special guests Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles and DJ Jazzy Jeff with even more to come.

(The last photo is by G. Widman for GPTMC)

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