PHILADELPHIA, May 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Birthdays deserve big celebrations—and nobody will celebrate America's 240th better than Philadelphia, the city where independence was born in 1776. From June 27 through July 4, 2016, Wawa Welcome America! will host a patriotic ceremony in front of Independence Hall, a parade through the streets of Historic Philadelphia and a Philadelphia Museum of Art concert featuring Tony-nominated Leslie Odom, Jr. of Broadway's hit Hamilton, Bryshere Gray, also known as Yazz, of Empire, and many other stars. Of course, no Independence Day celebration is complete without fireworks, and Philadelphia will host three major shows over the four-day weekend.
The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, available at visitphilly.com/hotel-packages, comes with free parking, making it easy for visitors to get their patriotism on at these and other events:
Friday, July 1:
- The weekend gets a tuneful start with a free performance by the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra along the Delaware River waterfront at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing. After the acclaimed musicians take their bows, all eyes turn to the skies for the first of three spectacular fireworks displays. S. Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
Saturday, July 2:
- The US Army Band "Pershing's Own" has delighted audiences with their rousing and rollicking renditions of old standards, new hits and patriotic tunes. The group returns to the Delaware River waterfront this year for another highly anticipated performance. Also highly anticipated: The huge fireworks display that will follow. Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, S. Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
Sunday, July 3:
- Visitors can party the day away at the new Historic Philadelphia Block Party. The festivities will fill the streets around Independence Hall with live entertainment, food vendors, kids' games and activities for all ages. Special appearances by 18th-century citizens will add a truly patriotic touch to the day-long fete. 5th & 6th Streets between Market and Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
- The BYOB (bring-your-own-blanket) POPS! on Independence concert has become a traditional holiday favorite—and for good reason. The combination of the Philadelphia Pops under the baton of Michael Krajewski, lively score of family-friendly tunes and dramatic backdrop of Independence Hall creates a perfect setting for a night of music under the stars. Between 5th & 6th Streets and between Market & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
Monday, July 4:
- Founding Fathers and Mothers aren't the only ones who will get their due during the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony. This year, everyday heroes will be honored during the patriotic observances held at Independence Hall. Leslie Odom, Jr., Philadelphia's own Tony-nominated star of the Broadway blockbuster Hamilton, will join in a powerful and dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, followed by music and remarks. 10 a.m. 6th & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
- Get the party started with the Independence Day Parade, a flag-waving, stars-and-stripes, big-city spectacle with a small-town feel. Dozens of colorful floats, marching bands, military groups and more than 6,000 participants from around the nation form a musical, colorful cavalcade that winds through the streets of Historic Philadelphia. 11 a.m. Route: steps off at 5th & Chestnut Streets, west on Chestnut Street to 9th Street, north on 9th Street, east on Market Street to Front Street, south on Front Street, ending at Front & Chestnut Streets, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
- All of Philadelphia comes together in one giant romp for the Party on the Parkway. Kidz Bop kicks off the day of musical performances, dance, children's activities, foods and cultural events that celebrate the city's many neighborhoods and nationalities. Noon to 4 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th Street to Eakins Oval, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
- The Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert goes retro with a family-friendly, only-in-Philadelphia lineup of talent. Among the performers during the free five-hour concert: two homegrown celebs—Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton star, and Yazz (Bryshere Gray) from TV's smash hit Empire. The O'Jays, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes and other hit makers will lead a tribute to the musical team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, creators of The Sound of Philadelphia. The Philly POPS will round out the evening with a flag-waving, red-white-and-blue performance of patriotic tunes. 5-10 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th Street to Eakins Oval, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
- Showcasing patriotism and important moments in our nation's history, the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks will take revelers on a 240-year journey from July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2016. Accompanied by a powerful soundtrack that combines rousing musical works and powerful quotes, this fireworks display will light up the skies over the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art for the grandest of grand finales. 10 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (267) 546-5424, welcomeamerica.com
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region's official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia's image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia's official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
Tweet It: Fireworks, concerts, parties, parades and stars of Hamilton and Empire rock red, white and blue for July 4: http://vstphl.ly/1rZo0pn
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SOURCE VISIT PHILADELPHIA