Robin Bloom offers a guide to what’s going on this holiday weekend.
Philly Independence Day celebrations
Wawa Welcome America! Festival
The Wawa Welcome America! Festival celebrates our nation’s independence with dozens of free and family friendly special activities including the 25th annual Wawa Hoagie Day – building a six ton hoagie to be enjoyed for free – on Thursday, June 29 on the lawn of the National Constitution Center. The morning build takes place from 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. and Mayor Jim Kenney kicks off the festivities at noon. The Philadelphia Orchestra Neighborhood Concert on Penn’s Landing takes place Friday, June 30, 8 p.m. (followed by fireworks). The U.S. Army Band performs July 1, 8 p.m. (followed by fireworks) and enjoy Philly POPS! Concerts on Independence Mall and on the Ben Franklin Parkway with conductor Michael Krajewski. Bring lawn chairs and blankets! The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony is July 4, 10 a.m., at Independence Hall, followed by the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade throughout Historic Philadelphia, 11 a.m., starting at 5th and Chestnut Streets, then west to 9th Street, to Market to Front Street. Events continue with the Party on the Parkway, noon – 10 p.m., Ben Franklin Parkway, and Philly 4th of July concert with Mary J. Blige and the Grand Finale Fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additional events include “Go 4th & Learn,” free museum days at area museums, KIDZ BOP concert, free movies under the stars, and much more. Photo by Jeff Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.
Tip: Watch the parade from the National Museum of American Jewish History’s 5th floor terrace. The museum is open and free on July 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with family-friendly activities. Catch great views of the Delaware River fireworks displays on the deck of the Independence Seaport Museum on Friday, June 30, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Saturday, July 1, 3 p.m. – midnight.
Independence Weekend in Historic Philadelphia
Celebrate Independence Weekend where it all began 241 years ago with family activities at several Historic Philadelphia locations. Events include Independence After Hours, Betsy’s Independence Day Bash at the Betsy Ross House, Colonial Kids’ Quest Puppet Show, “In Perfect Felicity: George and Martha Washington” (pictured), readings of the Declaration of Independence, flag raising ceremonies, and much more, including the Historic Philadelphia Block Party, July 3, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. Photo courtesy of Historic Philadelphia.
All-American Celebration at the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center hosts Independence Day weekend patriotic festivities with special events, live performances and more June 29 through July 4 including The 1776 Experience – Revolutionary War Encampment, Flag Etiquette Workshops, Star Spangled Banner Show, giant flag folding, arts and crafts and demonstrations, with free admission on June 29 courtesy of Wawa and on July 2 courtesy of the John Templeton Foundation, Independence Mall, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the National Constitution Center.
“Freedom Blast” at Fort Mifflin
Fort Mifflin on the Delaware celebrates Independence Day with the annual Freedom Blast!, Sunday, July 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., highlighting the long history of the 50 acre fort that supported the American Revolution, with activities for the whole family including a flag raising ceremony, guided tours, hands-on living history activities, weapon and cannon demonstrations, and more at Fort Mifflin and Hog Island Roads, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Fort Mifflin.
Celebrate America’s birthday in historic Germantown
Celebrate America’s birthday in historic Germantown. Stenton, one of the oldest and well preserved houses in Philadelphia, hosts an Old-Fashioned July 4th Celebration, Tuesday, July 4, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The 18th century Germantown estate built by James Logan, Secretary to Pennsylvania founder William Penn, serves as a house museum with authentic Georgian architecture and historic documents. Visitors are welcome to hot dogs and make-your-own ice cream on the grounds of the estate, along with arts and crafts activities and colonial games to the sounds of live music from Run of the Mill String Band (pictured). Stenton is located at 4601 N. 18th Street in Germantown and is free to the public. Tour the Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground, hear the bell ring once for every year since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and meet Martha Washington. Cliveden, the site of the 1777 Battle of Germantown, will be open for tours and activities. Photo courtesy of Historic Germantown.
Declaration of Independence events
The Museum of the American Revolution celebrates with music, family friendly activities, and costumed historical interpreters including the author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson. From July 1-4, sign a giant Declaration, take home a complimentary pocket Declaration and a miniature version of Washington’s Standard flag, enjoy an ice cream social with the Franklin Fountain, visit the Museum’s gallery dedicated to the Declaration of Independence, and more, 101 S. Third Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place in Berks County on July 8, 1776, as the new document was read publicly in villages throughout the area. Ironmaster and Hopewell Furnace founder Mark Bird was a relative of George Ross and James Wilson, two signers of the Declaration. The National Park Service marks the hour that our nation officially adopted the Declaration on Tuesday, July 4, 2 p.m. with an inspirational reading by noted author, playwright, and actress Christine Emmert on the porch of the Ironmaster’s House at Hopewell Furnace. The performance will be accompanied by music and traditional patriotic songs. The national historic site is surrounded by the 73,000 acre Hopewell Big Woods, the largest forest in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 5 miles south of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania on Route 345. Free.
Night Market Spruce Hill
Night Market Philadelphia is back in Spruce Hill at 40th and Walnut Streets in West Philadelphia, with a special Independence Day Weekend edition, Saturday, July 1, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. The street food festival features many of the city’s best ethnic and regional restaurants and food trucks, plus music and more, rain or shine. Presented by the Food Trust and Wawa Welcome America. Photo by Dave Tavani for The Food Trust.
New Jersey Fun on the Fourth
Camden Waterfront Freedom Festival
Camden Waterfront’s Freedom Festival celebrates America’s birthday and honors our heroes with family activities and live music in Wiggins Park beginning at 5 p.m. on July 4. Entertainment includes a kickoff salute to America and our veterans, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies at 6:30 p.m. and WAR at 8 p.m., with fireworks over the Delaware River at 9:30 p.m. Head to the Battleship New Jersey for fireworks viewings on June 30, July 1 and 4! Photo courtesy of the Battleship New Jersey.
July 4th Jubilee at Morven
Morven Museum & Garden hosts a July 4th Jubilee, Tuesday, July 4, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., at the home of Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton. The afternoon features the opportunity to sign the Declaration, colonial life demonstrations, children’s activities, food, meet and greet with George Washington, and live bluegrass music by the Ocean Country Band, Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Bring blankets or chairs! Free. Event is NOT rain or shine. Photo courtesy of Morven.
Historic Cold Spring Village in Cape May
Cape May’s Historic Cold Spring Village hosts the annual Independence Day Celebration, Saturday, and Sunday, July1-2, from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The day features a variety of patriotic family activities, programs, and music at the village’s restored historic buildings, plus demonstrations of early American trades and crafts, on Route 9, three miles north of Cape May City and four miles south of Rio Grande, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Historic Cold Spring Village.
Atlantic City Fireworks Spectacular
Atlantic City celebrates America’s birthday with fireworks displays on July 4 – the first show at the Borgata in the Marina District at 9:20 p.m. (public viewing area opens at 6 p.m.) The second show is on the boardwalk at the Tropicana at 10 p.m. Before and after the fireworks show, catch the Tropicana’s multimedia light and sound show at 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Download the “Fireworks by Grucci” app to listen to the soundtrack in real time as you watch the fireworks. Optimal viewing will be along the boardwalk and throughout the marina. Fireworks continue every Saturday night at the Tropicana through September 9.
Many more fireworks to be seen down the shore including in Wildwood – with a family and “pooch” parade, fireworks spectacular and more – and in Avalon, Cape May, Long Beach Island, Margate, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, and Tuckerton.
Other locations in the Garden State – with towns hosting parades with live music, amusements, and more – Audubon, Barrington, Bellmawr, Bordentown, Bridgeton, Buena Vista, Cherry Hill, Collingswood, East Windsor, Evesham, Ewing, Florence, Greenwich, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Hamilton, Lawrence, Lower Township, Magnolia, Medford, Mount Holly, Northfield, Pilesgrove, Pitman, Princeton, Riverton, Shamong, Smithville, Trenton (Thunder), Washington Township, Wenonah, Woodbury, Woodstown, and many more places including Six Flags.
Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration Fonthill
Fonthill Museum’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration is Tuesday, July 4, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., a day of family fun with early 20th century festivities, food, games, crafts, entertainment, and live music, with the backdrop of the estate of Henry Mercer, East Court St. and Rte. 313, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The event kicks off with the Children’s Decorated Bike Parade at 12:30 p.m. The castle will be open for self-guided tours. Photo courtesy of the Fonthill Museum.
Additional July 4th celebrations continue across southeastern Pennsylvania with parades, activities, and fireworks including Ambler, Conshohocken, Downingtown, Doylestown, Erwinna, Glenside, Harleysville, King of Prussia, Lafayette Hill, Lansdale, Lansdowne, Limerick, Lower Providence, Narberth, Newtown, New Hope, Norristown, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Ridley Park, Sesame Place, Skippack, Souderton, Southampton Days Country Fair, Springfield, Upper Darby, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Washington Crossing.
Independence in the First State
The City of Wilmington hosts a celebration on the Riverfront beginning at 2 p.m., July 4, with live performances, games, arts and crafts, food and more with fireworks at dusk, Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park, 815 Justison Street, Wilmington, Delaware. Take a river cruise to watch the fireworks! Adopt a firework in Dover, Delaware for an Independence Day Celebration, beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4 with various activities, craft and food vendors, and more, culminating in a parade at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks at approximately 9:20 p.m. over Legislative Hall.
Many towns hosting parades with live music, amusements, and much more, include Bethany Beach, Delaware Children’s Museum, Dewey Beach, Dover, Hockessin (which offers the Fireworks Express on the Wilmington and Western Railroad), Laurel, Lewes, Middletown, Newark, Rehoboth (pictured) and Smyrna. Photo by Portraits in the Sand.
Festivals, Fairs, and Fun
Kutztown Folk Festival
The 68th Annual Kutztown Folk Festival celebrates Pennsylvania Dutch culture July 1-9. The “oldest folk festival in America” offers festivities for the entire family including traditional crafts by over 200 juried American craftspeople, historical reenactments, the largest quilt sale in the nation, music on five stages, children’s activities, and food. New this year: historic folk life presentations, an authentic Tinsmith Shop, 19-piece German Brass Band and functional steam engine from 1910, Kutztown Fairgrounds, 225 North White Oak Street, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Route 222, between Allentown and Reading. Rain or shine.
Cumberland County Fair
The Cumberland County Fair, “New Jersey’s oldest fair,” returns with concerts, derbies, and fireworks, July 4-8. Events include racing pigs, free hayrides, garden exhibits, rides, and more, at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds, Millville, New Jersey.
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Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.
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