Guide To The 2012 Wawa Welcome America! Festival

June 20, 2012 3:55 PM

Prepare yourself for 10 days of food, fun and festivities: The Wawa Welcome America! Festival is back! Starting June 25th, the massive 4th of July fest will sweep the city, bringing with it a plethora of events for the whole fam. Here’s your guide to the annual celebration. –Chelsea Karnash

WHAT: Wawa Welcome America! celebrates the birth of the good ol’ US of A in a uniquely Philly way. In addition to more than a week of activities and two fireworks shows, the outdoor 4th of July concert is billed as the largest free concert in the nation.

WHEN: The celebration begins on June 25th and closes with a full day of festivities on the 4th of July, including the Independence Day Parade, Party on the Parkway and Grand Finale Fireworks display.


Monday, June 25th
Go 4th & Learn About History
Franklin Square
6th & Race Sts
10 a.m. – noon for storytelling, 10 – 3 p.m. for Wawa Interactive Dairy and History Area

The first of five free educational events for kids and their parents will be held in Franklin Square. This installation has a history theme, and kids can hear stories and learn about the history of dairy (courtesy of Wawa). There will be photo-ops with a milkmaid, crafts, cow-milking lessons, face-painting and more.

Philly @ the Movies: “The Great Gatsby”
Rittenhouse Square
9 p.m.

Enjoy a free fashion show followed by a showing of “The Great Gatsby,” starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, in swanky Rittenhouse Square.

Tuesday, June 26th
Go 4th & Learn About Your Imagination
Please Touch Museum
4231 Ave of the Republic
10 a.m. – Noon

Head to the Please Touch Museum for a day spent learning through play during the second installation of Go 4th & Learn.

Philly @ the Movies: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

Piazza at Schmidt’s
1050 N Hancock St
9 p.m.

It’ll be hard not to quote this classic (quietly, please!) to yourself at this showing on the Piazza’s Jumbotron, but do try.

Wednesday, June 27th
Go 4th & Learn About Fitness
Smith Memorial Playground, East Fairmount Park
10 a.m. – Noon

Let the kids get some exercise on this 6.5 acre playground located in Fairmount Park.

Wawa Hoagie Day: Stars, Strips & Hoagies Forever!
Independence Mall
Between 5th & 6th Sts on Market St
12 – 2 p.m.

Sink your teeth into a 4.5-ton hoagie at the annual Wawa Hoagie Day. Mayor Nutter will start the ceremony by serving up the massive sando at this year’s event, which honors our troops and Wawa’s partnership with the USO. Plus, Philly police officers, firefighters, and military will compete in a hoagie-building contest that benefits local charitable organizations.

Philly @ the Movies: “Rocky”
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Ben Franklin Pkwy
9 p.m.

Watch the beloved Philly-centric flick on the famous Rocky Steps!

Thursday, June 28th
Go 4th & Learn About Mummers
The Mummers Museum
1100 S 2nd St
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

A Philly New Year’s tradition comes to life for kids at the Mummers Museum.

Friday, June 29th
Go 4th & Learn About Animals
Philadelphia Zoo
3400 Girard Ave
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Learn about the fuzzy, scaly and exotic array of animals that call America’s First Zoo home. Admit it: You’re always looking for an excuse to go anyway!

PHL Photo Exhibit
Philadelphia International Airport
10 a.m.

This year’s exhibit, “Faces of Freedom: The Constitution at 225,” spotlights 47 American’s who helped shape the nation.

Taste of Philadelphia
Penn’s Landing
301 S Columbus Blvd
5 – 10 p.m.

Gorge on delicious food from Philly’s top restaurants and food trucks at the annual Taste of Philadelphia celebration. Singer Laura Izibor will provide background music from the RiverStage.

Saturday, June 30th
Taste of Philadelphia Concert and Fireworks Spectacular
Penn’s Landing
301 S Columbus Blvd
11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

It’s an all day fiesta at Penn’s Landing! Munch on a slew of gourmet goodies before you settle in for performances from the finalists of the 2nd Annual Wawa Welcome America! Singer/Songwriter Competition in the hopes of being crowned the 2012 winner. Finally, the first round of fireworks (sponsored by Adventure Aquarium) will go off over the Delaware.

Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival
Walnut West Parking Lot
Columbus Blvd and Walnut St
12 – 5 p.m. and 6 – 9 p.m.

Save some room for the unlimited ice cream buffet at this all-you-can-eat event to benefit the Joshua Kahan Fund to fight pediatric cancer. $7 gets you into the feast.

Sunday, July 1st
Taste of Philadelphia Gospel Sunday
Penn’s Landing
301 S Columbus Blvd
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Day 3 of the Taste event falls on a Sunday, so it’s only fitting that it features Gospel choirs from all over the city. Enjoy some soulful snacking outdoors to the tunes of live singing.

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

Walnut West Parking Lot
Columbus Blvd and Walnut St
12 – 5 p.m.

Fight pediatric cancer again as you cool down with an endless ice cream buffet.

Monday, July 2nd
Philly @ the Movies: “Why Did I Get Married?”
The Dell Music Center
N 33rd St
9 p.m.

Laugh the night away at this showing of Tyler Perry’s 2007 film, “Why Did I Get Married?”

Tuesday, July 3rd
Mural Arts Paint Day
Independence Mall
2 – 5 p.m.

Release your inner artiste as you partake in the creation of a new mural—along with the Mural Arts Program—to honor Philly music crew The Roots.

“POPS! On Independence”
Independence Hall
8 p.m.

Bring blankets and lawn chairs out to this popular outdoor concert at Independence Hall. Seating is first come, first served.

Wednesday, July 4th
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony
Steps of Independence Hall
6th & Market Sts
10 – 11 a.m.

Happy 4th! Pay tribute to America with music, readings from the Declaration of Independence and more.

Philadelphia Independence Day Parade

Throughout Historic Philly
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

More than 5,000 participants will salute the nation during this annual parade extravaganza. This year’s parade commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with floats, marching bands, military regiments and more.

Party on the Parkway
Ben Franklin Pkwy
20th St to Eakins Oval
12 – 7 p.m.

The massive, family-friendly street fair kicks off at noon, with more than six blocks of activities, games and entertainment. There are three stages, tons of music, sporting events, exhibits and interactive zones on the sched, too.

Philly 4th of July Jam & Grand Finale Fireworks
Ben Franklin Pkwy
20th and Eakins Oval
7 – 11 p.m.

The biggest free concert in the U.S. stars Philly’s own The Roots, plus Queen Latifah, Daryl Hall, Common, Joe Jonas and more special guests. After the music winds down, the fireworks start up—the grand finale spectacular goes off over the Art Museum, bringing Welcome America! to a close.

DIRECTIONS: Out-of-towner? No problem. For directions, click here.

WHERE TO STAY: Want to spend the weekend in the city? For info on where to stay, click here.

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