Normally, Fourth of July in Philly is a week of Wawa-sponsored events like hoagie-eating contests, block parties and movie screenings — ending with the ultimate outdoor concert and fireworks on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
But because of the coronavirus pandemic — not this year. The Independence Day concert will go on, but without a live audience and indoors.
Final details of Philly’s virtual party were released Tuesday, and include seven days of over 50 free online events, running from Sunday, June 28 through Saturday, July 4. The family-friendly programming will focus on arts, culture, wellness, education, history and performance.
The festival will culminate with performances by award-winning Broadway and “Harriet” actress Cynthia Erivo, alongside the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, and R&B-singer Jason Derulo.
The performance will be held on July 4 inside The Met Philadelphia to an empty audience and livestreamed via NBC10 Philadelphia starting at 8 p.m.
On July 1, Wawa Hoagie Day — where in years past, nine tons of hoagies were handed out to hungry tourists at Independence Mall — will now take the celebratory sandwich holiday to all 900 Wawas in the country starting at noon. More than 45,000 hoagies will be made and donated to local community organizations, including Philabundance, as well as first responders and health care workers.
For those who have been picking up food from the city’s 100+ meal distribution sites, 16,000 TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets — a Philly favorite snack — will be donated on June 29.
In addition to the July 4 performance, spectators can tune in to NBC10 daily at 7 p.m. throughout the week for several concerts and performances, including an uplifting gospel celebration featuring performances by Zak Williams and 1/Akord, and patriotic renditions by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
You can find a full listing of Wawa Welcome America’s virtual events here.