Weekly Entertainment Guide – Independence Day Celebrations

     July 4th fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by William Z. Foster (courtesy of the Wawa Welcome America Festival).

    July 4th fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by William Z. Foster (courtesy of the Wawa Welcome America Festival).

    Celebrate “The Roots” of our Independence in Philadelphia and all across the region. 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 special activities Thursday, July 2: Go 4th & Learn About History, 10am-noon, the 23rd annual Wawa Hoagie Day, with free hoagies distributed from noon-1:30pm, a Philadelphia Orchestra Neighborhood Concert on Penn’s Landing, 8pm (followed by fireworks). On Friday, July 3 is the Liberty Block Party on 5th and 6th Streets between Market and Chestnut Streets beginning at 1pm, leading up to the Philly POPS! On Independence free concert with conductor Michael Krajewski and guest soloists Capathia Jenkins and Darius de Haas at the steps of Independence Hall, 6th & Chestnut Streets, 8pm. Bring lawn chairs and blankets! The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony takes place on 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 Let Freedom Ring ceremony, 6th & Market Streets, 1pm, Party on the Parkway, noon-7pm, Ben Franklin Parkway, and Philly 4th of July Jam, 7pm-11pm, Ben Franklin Parkway featuring Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, J. Cole, Grace Potter, Jill Scott, Common, Joe Jonas, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, and of course, The Roots! Grand Finale Fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Tony DiGeorge.Tip: Watch the parade from the National Museum of American Jewish History‘s 5th floor terrace. The museum is open and free on Saturday, July 4, 10am-5pm with family-friendly activities.

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    Independence Weekend in Historic Philadelphia

    Celebrate Independence Weekend where it all began 239 years ago with family activities at several Historic Philadelphia locations, July 3-4. Events include readings of the Declaration of Independence, Liberty 360 3D Show in the PECO Theater, Betsy Ross Independence Day Bash with crafts, children’s naturalization ceremony, and flag raising, Independence Day Family Fun in Franklin Square Park, Colonial re-enactor meet & greets, and lots more. 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 including The 1776 Experience – Revolutionary War Encampment, Flag Etiquette Workshops, Star Spangled Banner Show, arts & crafts and demonstrations, July 2-5 (with free admission on July 4 from 9:30am-6pm 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, Friday 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 activities such as making an American flag themed fan and colonial games to the sounds of live music from Run of the Mill String Band. The celebration continues with tours at Hood Cemetery (pictured), Concord School House & Upper Burial Ground, Johnson House and Cliveden, also hosting special activities. 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 Kathy Sledge, the voice of “We Are Family” performing at 6:30pm, Blood, Sweat & Tears at 8pm, with fireworks over the Delaware River at 9:30pm. Head to the Battleship New Jersey for Battleship Blast, food and live music by the Beatles tribute band The Beat-Tells, plus children’s activities and a great view of the fireworks show. Sunday, July 5 is Military Appreciation Day with discounted admission at the Adventure Aquarium and the Battleship NJ. Photo courtesy of the Battleship New Jersey.

    July 4th Jubilee at Morven

    Morven Museum & Garden hosts a July 4th Jubilee, Saturday, 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, a dramatic presentation by Stacy Roth (pictured) on Revolutionary Tea, children’s activities, food, and live music by the Ocean County 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 a huge fireworks display – one of the top five in the country – that requires two ocean barges and one marina platform, Friday, July 3, 9:30pm on the beach and boardwalk and Saturday, July 4, 9:30pm in the Marina District. The shows will begin with a reading of the Declaration of Independence.Many more fireworks to be seen down the shore including in Wildwood – with a special Philly POPS! shore concert, parade, “pooch” parade, 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, Bordentown, Bridgeton, Buena Vista, Collingswood, East Windsor, Evesham, Florence, Gloucester City, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Hamilton, Medford, Millville, Mount Ephraim, Mount Holly, Pitman, Princeton, Runnemede, Shamong, Smithville, Washington Township, Wenonah, Woodbury, Woodstown, and many more places including Six Flags. Photo by Rusty Kennedy/Atlantic City Alliance.

    Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration Fonthill

    Fonthill Museum’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration is Saturday, 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. New entertainment this year: demonstrations by the Kruisin’ Kanines Dog Agility Club. Photo courtesy of Mercer and Fonthill Museums.

    Additional July 4th celebrations continue across southeastern Pennsylvania with parades, activities, and fireworks including Abington, Ambler, Coatesville, Conshohocken, Downingtown, East Norriton, Glenside, Lansdale, Lansdowne, Limerick, Malvern, Media, Narberth, New Hope, Newtown, Norristown, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Quakertown, Radnor, Ridley Park, Royersford, Skippack, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, and Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Washington Crossing.

    Independence in the First State

    The City of Wilmington hosts a July 4th celebration on the Riverfront beginning at 2pm with free, live performances by the Big Package Band, G2 Band and more. Also, look for historical reenactments, games, rides, arts, face painting, magicians, crafts, as well as various food and drink vendors, and 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, Elsmere, 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.

    Cumberland County Fair

    The Cumberland County Fair, “New Jersey’s oldest fair,” returns with six days of concerts, derbies, and fireworks, July 7-11. 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 artscalendar@whyy.org.

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