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Wawa Welcome America Festival in Philadelphia

Celebrate the 4th of July in Philly

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There is no better place to celebrate Independence Day than Philadelphia, the city where it all began. Philly celebrates Independence Day year-round, but never more so than for the July 4th holiday. Visitors come from far and wide to take part in a full 11 days of events, beginning June 24th and culminating July 4th with a huge festival and Roots concert on the Parkway. From street festivals, to outdoor movie screenings, and of course, plenty of fireworks, read on for highlights of the 2011 Wawa Welcome America Festival.

Taste of Philadelphia and Fireworks

J. Smith for GPTMC

Where: Penn's Landing, with food trucks along the Chestnut St. bridge

What:Three days of music, food from Philly's best eateries, and a fireworks display on Saturday.

When: Friday, June 24 (6-9 p.m.):Jazz music courtesy of Gerald Veasley.

Saturday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.): Jazz and blues including Aaron Neville, followed by a fireworks display.

Sunday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.): Performances from local gospel choirs.

Go 4th and Learn

When: Mon., June 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Franklin Square

What: This kid-friendly event features storytelling, and lessons in Philadelphia history and milking a cow.

When: Tues., June 28, 10 a.m.-noon Where: Dell Music Center

What: Kid-friendly event featuring music, dance and art.

When: Sat., July 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: Franklin Institute

What: The science of fireworks is explained.

Philly at the Movies

Outdoor screenings of new and classic movies at various location around the city.

When:Mon. June 27th, 9-11 p.m.       Where:Piazza at Schmidt's                  What:"Best in Show." Pets welcome.

When:Tues., June 28th, 7 p.m.           Where:TBA                                        What:Pre-screening "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" 

When:Wed., June 29th, 9 p.m.           Where:Dell Music Center                     What:Fame

When:Thurs., June 29th, 9 p.m.         Where:Philadelphia Museum of Art      What: Rocky

When:Fri., June 30, 9 p.m.                Where:Rittenhouse Square                  What:The Devil Wears Prada

When:Sat., July 1, 9 p.m.                  Where:Love Park                                 What:Hairspray

Wawa Hoagie Day

When: Wed. June 29th, noon-2 p.m.  Where: Independence Mall

What: There just may be such a thing as a free lunch at Wawa Hoagie Day when the mayor, local officials and Wawa celebrate our soldiers with a massive 4.5-ton hoagie.

Chinatown Block Party

When: Sat., July 2, noon-4 Where: 10th and Race St. and surrounding blocks

What: Open-air market, entertainment, crafts, and Asian food galore.

Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival

Where: Penn's Landing and along the Chestnut St. bridge When: July 2 (noon-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.) and July 3 and 4 (noon-5 p.m.)

Cost: $7 (proceeds benefit Joshua Kahan Fun to fight pediatric Leukemia)

Independence Day Ceremony and Parade

When: July 4, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Where: Historic Philadelphia (Old City)

What: The cermeony begins, fittingly, on the steps of Independence Hall at 10 a.m. and features music, speeches, and readings from the Declaration of Independence. The parade begins at 11:30 a.m. and winds through the historic buildings of Old City.

Party on the Parkway, Jam, and Grand Finale Fireworks

G. Widman for GPTMC

When: July 4, noon-10 p.m. Where: Ben Franklin Parkway

What: The grand finale of the festival is an event not to be missed. The Parkway is lined with 7 full blocks of games, entertainment, food, and more, all day long. From 7-10 p.m., Philly's own hometown favorites, the Roots will perform with special guests: Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more. And of course, the night would not be complete without the impressive fireworks display over the Art Museum.

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