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.
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.
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.
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
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.
When: Sat., July 2, noon-4 Where: 10th and Race St. and surrounding blocks
What: Open-air market, entertainment, crafts, and Asian food galore.
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)
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.
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.