Philly’s biggest party, celebrating Hispanic culture and art for kids

Tonya Pendleton runs down things to do around Philadelphia for July 4th and through the weekend.

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The Wawa Welcome America July Fourth concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway closes with a fireworks display. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

This week, the Philly region goes big — as always — to celebrate American independence. Check out what’s happening this Fourth of July and throughout the weekend. 

July 4th at the Waterfront
Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park
Water and South French streets, Wilmington, Del.
Thursday, July 4th; park opens at 2 p.m., concert at 8 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Delaware celebrates America’s birthday with a free concert and festival on the waterfront. Food, including a crab feast, kids activities, tours of the historic colonial ship Kalmar Nyckel and other family-friendly activities are the prelude for a night of music and fireworks. The Delaware Symphony Orchestra will perform selections with a space theme, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Music from films like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Star Wars,” “E.T.” and “Apollo 13” will be highlighted along with the traditional Fourth of July performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

Fun on the Fourth
Various venues, Collingswood, N.J.
Thursday, July 4, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Events are free, some require advance registration
Collingswood celebrates the Fourth with an all-day event that includes a bike parade showcasing patriotically-decorated bikes, strollers and wagons. Collingswood’s Roberts Pool offers games for kids and by day’s end, the winner of the Collingswood House Decorating Contest will be named. Local band To The Max goes on at 8 p.m. and fireworks will light up the Jersey sky at 9:15 p.m.

Norristown 4th of July Celebration
The parade begins at St. Francis on Marshall Street, ends at Main Street, Norristown, Pa.
Thursday, July 4th, 9:45 a.m.–9 p.m.
Entertainment, vendors, and food will combine for Norristown’s annual Fourth of July block party. Main Street will be closed to vehicles to accommodate the event. The party moves on to Elmwood Park which features live bands and then a fireworks show at the Fire Chief’s Memorial bandshell at dusk.

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Wawa Welcome America July 4th concert and fireworks with Jennifer Hudson, Meghan Trainor and the Philly POPS
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
7 p.m.–10 p.m.
The annual Philadelphia celebration of Independence Day kicks off at 7 p.m. (but get there early!) featuring performances by Jennifer Hudson, Meghan Trainor, and the Philly POPS Big Band. The U.S. Army Field Band will for the first time this year perform live along with the fireworks display. Eakin’s Oval is the entry point to the festivities that will stretch along the Parkway from the Art Museum to 20th street. This interactive map provided by the city will help you find locations of jumbotrons, port-a-potties, entry and exit points to the Parkway, street closures, law enforcement locations and food and hydration stations. Keep your bags limited and small – large bags and backpacks will be searched. You’ll have to give up any of those ideas for aerial social media shots, too, because drones are prohibited for the event.  

Children’s Naturalization Ceremony
Betsy Ross House
239 Arch St., Philadelphia
Thursday, July 4, 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
This event allows observers to watch as some very special young people from around the world join the melting pot that is America. The historic Betsy Ross House hosts the annual event where selected children take the oath of citizenship right near where the United States of America took its fledgling first steps as a nation.

Free Museum Day
Bartram’s Garden House
5400 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia 
Thursday, July 4; 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
American Museum of Jewish History
101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia 
Thursday, July 4, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
It’s the last day to visit two of Philadelphia’s storied museums for free as part of the “Welcome America” celebration. Bartram’s Garden House and the American Museum of Jewish History open their doors to encourage visitors in town for the Fourth — and even locals who may have found museum prices daunting — to check out the city’s rich history. Botanists John and William Bartram lived at the Garden House and while there, created the country’s first botanical garden. The American Museum of Jewish History showcases the rich legacy of Jewish people in the U.S. while offering storytime and Independence Day-themed arts and crafts for holiday visitors.

Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration

Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle
525 E. Court Street, Doylestown, Pa.
Thursday, July 4, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
$1-$5, children 5 years old and under free
Henry Chapman Mercer, an anthropologist, archeologist, artist and scholar built Fonthill Castle in Bucks County to showcase his collection of tiles and prints. He completed it in 1912, living there until his death in 1930. Now it includes a collection of 50,000 pre-industrial tools, a research library focused on the area’s history, and rotating exhibits. The holiday celebration features a decorated bike parade, a watermelon eating contest, traditional games like tug-of-war and sack races, live music and food for purchase.

The Sound of Liberty: A Tribute to the American Songbook
Chapel of Four Chaplains
1201 Constitution Ave., Philadelphia
Thursday, July 4, 4 p.m.
Philadelphia-born classical singer Marian Anderson was a towering figure of music and a potent symbol of civil rights. The National Marian Anderson Historical Society and the Museum of the Chapel of Four Chaplains hosts a tribute concert to the American songbook with the National Marian Anderson Vocal Scholar Artists, the MAHS Orchestral Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble, and cellist David Traub. Included in the program is a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence and Fourth of July-themed treats.

Fourth of July Rooftop Party
Sunset Social at Cira Green
129 S. 30th St., Philadelphia
Thursday, July 4, “Field of Dreams” screening at 12 p.m., party from 3 p.m.–11 p.m.
Free, food and drink for purchase, no outside food or drink allowed
Enjoy the fireworks from one of the best viewpoints in the city atop the Cira Green. Food, specialty drinks at discounted prices and music by DJ Sat-One are the backdrop for the Fourth of July celebration. You can start celebrating early as the Kevin Costner-led classic flick “Field of Dreams” will be shown on the ginormous screen. Proceeds from a pay-what-you-wish popcorn station go to various local charities that change every month.

Art Splash
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Perelman Building
2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Philadelphia
July 5–Sept. 2
Free with museum admission, kids 12 years and younger are free
If you have creative kids in need of an outlet, Art Splash is the place they can nurture their inner Picasso or Basquiat. The free (with museum admission) arts programs starting this week offer a variety of sessions to expose and educate children in different artistic disciplines. There are daily and weekly programs that include working with local artists to hone children’s creative ideas and advance their skills as well as two exhibitions, “Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South” and The Art of Collage and Assemblage.

Earth Wind and Fire
Hard Rock Live @ Hard Rock Hotel
1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.
Saturday, July 6; 8 p.m.
$92 and up
The iconic R&B/soul band that harnessed the elements to create a multitude of classic hits including “September,” “That’s the way of the world” and “Devotion” lost its founding member, Maurice White, in 2016, but they continue on with lead singer Philip Bailey, White’s brother Verdine and vocalist/percussionist Ralph Johnson, all of whom have been in the band since its earliest days. The six-time Grammy Award winners whose 90 million albums sold make them one of the top-sellers of all time was named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. They’ve recorded 21 studio albums; their latest, “Holiday,” came out in 2014.

Fourth Annual PhilaLandmarks Open House
Hill-Physick House
321 S. 4th St., Philadelphia
Friday, July 5; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Powel House
244 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia
Saturday, July 6; 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Looking for something to do post-Fourth that is still historic and won’t be a budget buster? Then head to the PhilaLandmarks Open House that opens the doors, literally, to two landmarks of Philadelphia history. Refreshments will be provided at both homes. Tours are self-guided and re-enactors from the Second Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Army that battled for American Independence will be on hand to take selfies or answer any Revolutionary War questions.

Hispanic Fiesta
Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing
101 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia
Saturday, July 6, Sunday, July 7, 2 p.m.–8 p.m.
Free, food and drink for purchase
The Hispanic Fiesta is your destination for all things pertaining to the rich and varied culture of the Spanish-speaking population. Food, music and dance performances and arts and crafts vendors will be on hand during the two-day celebration. A beer garden, a kid’s corner and giveaways are on the schedule as well. Salsa singer Lalo RodriguezAFRO Dominicano, Kim Viera, Hughes School of Bolivian Dance and other artists are slated to perform.

Trails on Tap
Valley Forge National Historic Park Betzwood Picnic Trailhead
1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, Pa.
Thursday, July 4, Saturday, July 6, Sunday, July 7, 12 p.m.–9 p.m.
Friday, July 5, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Free, food and drink for purchase
Pop-up beer gardens are not just for city dwellers. Trails on Tap, an offshoot of Philly’s Parks On Tap brings the beer garden experience to Montgomery County. Non-alcoholic beverages are available, too, and you can enjoy them on the chairs and hammocks provided. No outside food and no bikes inside the garden, though limited bike parking is provided, or you can take advantage of free bike or kayak rides on Saturday and Sunday. Some proceeds will benefit the Schuylkill River Greenways.

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