Fourth of July events for Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy

Many neighbors will celebrate the Fourth of July in Chestnut Hill this Independence Day at the Water Tower Recreation Center for a patriotic bicycle parade while some will venture on a hike to Independence Hall in Old City. In Mt. Airy, historic Germantown Avenue will be the hub of Fourth of July fun in the area.

Children’s parade

The Water Tower event is in its 96th year and will start at 9 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. on Wednesday July 4 at the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club, located at 118 E. Hartwell Lane. The opening event includes a children’s bicycle parade to the Water Tower, located at 209 E. Hartwell Lane.

“Participants decorate their bicycles and tricycles in red-white-and-blue with streamers and flags on their bikes,” said Frank Hendrie, fundraising chairman for the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club, who sponsors the event, “and we have awards for the winners.” He added that parade participants will receive a free T-shirt.

Hendrie, a 43-year resident of Chestnut Hill, says the parade has been a part of his family life for years and says he has helped create his fair share of patriotic bicycles. He says they usually get a large turnout of a few hundred people at the event. He notes that the festivities include free food, a magic show, pony rides, sock races, face painting and a petting zoo.

“It’s a good event because people can attend in the morning and still go do something else in the evening with their families,” said Hendrie.


Hiking from Chestnut Hill to Independence Hall

A hiking group called Hiking Around Philly will be traveling to Independence Hall at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday July 4. The group will meet at 201 W. Evergreen Avenue under the awning of the Hill House apartment building in Chestnut Hill.

“We have people from all over the city meeting for the hike,” said Sidney Goldstein, creator of Hiking Around Philly. “Our hikes are very different than other hiking groups. The whole idea of it – to walk through the woods and then come into a major city – it’s really unique.”

Goldstein, a basketball writer and hobbyist hiker, says he had the idea for the group after traveling and walking around cities like Paris, London and Rome.

“Philadelphia is a great walking city,” said Goldstein. He says the group will travel through park land and historical spots.

The hike will consist of about 12 miles and will span three to four hours. The hiking trail includes walking along the Wissahickon Creek to the Schuylkill and then on to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Once they arrive in the city, Goldstein says the group usually stops at for lunch at Whole Foods, located at 2001 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It really depends on what the group wants to do,” explains Goldstein, who says he expects about a dozen hikers on Wednesday. “One year we decided to walk to the Delaware River and had drinks at the Moshulu.”

The hiking group will catch the Chestnut Hill West or East train at Suburban Station or Reading Terminal Market back to Chestnut Hill between 3 and 4 p.m.

“We keep it optional,” said Goldstein, “if people want to stay for the fireworks display, they can do that too.”

The group’s website explains that participants should bring water, be able to walk for four hours without “much of a break” and should have recently hiked 10 miles in similar conditions. Last Fourth of July they walked to Center City in less than three and a half hours.

The cost for the hike is $3 per person. Visit ( to learn more.


Historic Germantown Avenue hosts Fourth of July fun

Join your neighbors in saying “Happy 236th Birthday” to America all along Germantown Avenue. The annual “Fourth of July in Historic Germantown” neighborhood festival will be held on Wednesday July 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature guided tours, historical re-enactments, a bell-ringing ceremony as well as arts and crafts.

Visitors can celebrate at five historical sites including Stenton, Hood Cemetery, Cliveden of the National Trust, Concord School & Upper Burying Ground and the Johnson House Historic Site.

The free event will live music with family-friendly crafts from ice cream-making to patriotic crafting sessions.

Festival schedule

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tour Hood Cemetery, located at 4901 Germantown Avenue, which was formerly called the Lower Burying Ground. Hood was founded in 1692 and is the resting place of 41 Revolutionary War soldiers.

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Attend an “Old-Fashioned July 4th Celebration at Stenton,” located at 4601 N. 18th Street. On the historic grounds of Stenton, one of the most authentic of Philadelphia’s historic houses, families are invited to enjoy hot dogs and make-your-own ice cream; create an American flag-themed fan and play Colonial games; mingle with Benjamin Franklin; and listen to music by the Run of the Mill String Band.

Noon to 4 p.m.

View an exhibition and tour Cliveden of the National Trust, located at 6401 Germantown Avenue. Visitors are invited to explore Philadelphia’s only Revolutionary War battle site, Cliveden of the National Trust. Visit the brand-new exhibition, “Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness?” and tour the house and newly opened servants’ quarters.

Noon to 4 p.m.

Attend the “Bell Ringing Ceremony” at the Concord School & Upper Burying Ground, located at 6309 Germantown Avenue. In addition to tours, the Concord School & Upper Burying Ground will host its eighth annual “Bell Ringing Ceremony” at 2 p.m. A tradition that began in the 18th century and was revived in 2005, the bell ringing commemorates America’s enduring freedom by tolling one peal for each year of the nation’s independence since 1776.

Noon to 4 p.m.

View a historical re-enactment at the Johnson House Historic Site, located at 6306 Germantown Avenue. A historical performance by Oney Judge at 2:30 p.m. accompanies tours of this surviving Underground Railroad Station.

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