Robin Bloom offers a guide to what’s going on this holiday weekend.
“Happiness, Liberty, Life?” at PAFA
Opening June 30 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is Happiness, Liberty, Life? Timed to coincide with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the exhibit of over 100 works explores themes of humor, protest, and portraiture in American art and politics from the 18th century to the present day. Also featured is the “Wall of Washington,” offering a rare look at over 25 representations of George and Martha Washington and “Philadelphia Cornucopia,” Red Grooms’ massive characters of the Founding Fathers, restored and on public view for the first time since the 1976 Bicentennial celebration, on view through September 18, 118-128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Opening reception Wednesday, June 29, 6pm-8pm. Pictured: “Double Vision,” by Chitra Ganesh, 2014.
Philly Independence Day celebrations
Wawa Welcome America! Festival
The Wawa Welcome America! Festival celebrates our nation’s independence with special activities: Go 4th & Learn About History, the 24th annual Wawa Hoagie Day – this year building a six ton hoagie to be enjoyed free! Festivities begin at 11:30am on June 30 with local and national celebrities and free admission to one area museum. The Philadelphia Orchestra Neighborhood Concert on Penn’s Landing takes place July 1, 8pm (followed by fireworks). The U.S. Army Band performs July 2, 8pm (followed by fireworks) and enjoy a Philly POPS! On Independence free concert with conductor Michael Krajewski, July 3. Bring lawn chairs and blankets! The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony is July 4, 10am, at Independence Hall, followed by the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade throughout Historic Philadelphia, 11am, starting at 5th & Chestnut Streets, then west to 9th Street, to Market to Front Street. Events continue with the Party on the Parkway, noon-10pm, Ben Franklin Parkway, and Philly 4th of July concert with Leon Bridges, and the Grand Finale Fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Wawa Welcome America! Festival.
Tip: Watch the parade from the National Museum of American Jewish History’s 5th floor terrace. The museum is open and free on Monday, July 4, 10am-5pm with family-friendly activities.
Independence Weekend in Historic Philadelphia
Celebrate Independence Weekend where it all began 240 years ago with family activities at several Historic Philadelphia locations. Events include Independence After Hours, First Friday Movies Under the Stars and Stripes at the Betsy Ross House, Colonial Kids’ Quest Puppet Show, a debate between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, “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, 1pm-8pm. 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 30 through July 4 including The 1776 Experience – Revolutionary War Encampment, Flag Etiquette Workshops, Star Spangled Banner Show, arts and crafts and demonstrations, with free admission on June 30 and July 2 courtesy of Wawa and on July 4 courtesy of the John Templeton Foundation), Independence Mall, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the National Constitution Center.
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, Monday July 4, 11:30am-1:30pm. 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. Photo courtesy of Historic Germantown.
Regional July 4th Celebrations
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 5pm on July 4. Entertainment includes Ginger Coyle at 6:30pm and Michael McDonald at 8pm, with fireworks over the Delaware River at 9:30pm. Head to the Battleship New Jersey for fireworks viewings on July 1, 2, and 4! Photo courtesy of the Battleship New Jersey.
July 4th Jubilee at Morven
Morven Museum & Garden hosts a July 4th Jubilee, Monday, July 4, 12pm-3pm, at the home of Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton. The afternoon features the opportunity to sign the Declaration, colonial life demonstrations including bread baking and ice cream making, children’s activities, food, and live bluegrass music by the Back Door Band, Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ. Bring blankets or chairs! Free. Event is not rain or shine. Photo courtesy of Morven.
More New Jersey Fun on the Fourth
In New Jersey, Atlantic City celebrates America’s birthday with an 18 minute fireworks display, Monday, July 4, 9:30pm. Optimal viewing will be along the boardwalk and throughout the marina.
Many more fireworks to be seen down the shore including in Wildwood – with a special Philly POPS! concert, the new Beach Bacon Festival, Celebrate America Beach Concert with Tim McGraw, parade, “pooch” parade, and more – and in Avalon, Brigantine, 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, Deptford, East Windsor, Egg Harbor City, Evesham, Ewing, Florence, Greenwich, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Hamilton, Lawrence, Lower Township, Magnolia, Medford, Millville, Mount Holly, Northfield, Oaklyn, Pilesgrove, Pitman, 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 Monday, July 4, noon-4pm, 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. & Rte. 313, Doylestown, PA. The event kicks off with the Children’s Decorated Bike Parade at 12:30pm (pictured). The castle will be open for self-guided tours. Check out the new exhibit Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag, on view July 2 through November 6. Photo courtesy of Mercer and Fonthill Museums.
Additional July 4th celebrations continue across southeastern Pennsylvania with parades, activities, and fireworks including Ambler, Conshohocken, Downingtown, Glenside, Limerick, Lower Providence, Narberth, New Hope, Norristown, Pennsbury Manor, Phoenixville, Quakertown, Radnor, Ridley Park, Royersford, Sesame Place, Skippack, Southampton Days Country Fair, Springfield, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, and Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge Casino and Resort, and Washington Crossing.
Independence in the First State
The City of Wilmington hosts a celebration on the Riverfront beginning at 2pm, July 4, with live performances, games, arts and crafts, food and more with fireworks at dusk, Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park, 815 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE. Adopt a firework in Dover, Delaware for an Independence Day Celebration, beginning at 9am on Saturday, July 4 with various activities, craft and food vendors, and more, culminating in a parade at 6pm, followed by fireworks at approximately 9:20pm over Legislative Hall.
Many towns hosting parades with live music, amusements, and much more, include Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Dover, Hockessin (which offers the Fireworks Express on the Wilmington and Western Railroad), Laurel, Lewes, Middletown, New Castle, Newark, Rehoboth (pictured) and Smyrna. Photo by Portraits in the Sand.
Festivals, Fairs, and Fun
Kutztown Folk Festival
The 67th Annual Kutztown Folk Festival celebrates Pennsylvania Dutch culture July 2-10. 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, Kutztown Fairgrounds, 225 North White Oak Street, Kutztown, PA, Route 222, between Allentown and Reading. Rain or shine.
Cumberland County Fair
The Cumberland County Fair, “New Jersey’s oldest fair,” returns with six days of concerts, derbies, and fireworks, July 5-9. Events include racing pigs, free hayrides, garden exhibits, rides, and more, at the Cumberland County Fairgrounds, Millville, NJ.
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.
To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.