Every Fourth of July week, the City of Brotherly Love is normally overtaken by a slew of events happening around the city to celebrate Independence Day. Wawa Welcome America always features multicultural and multigenerational programming aimed to highlight the city’s diverse culture, and that’s still the case for 2021.
Last year, the 2020 festival was entirely free and virtual, with a lineup of concerts, online educational activities, behind-the-scenes experiences, cooking demonstrations, at-home crafts, virtual museum tours and more. This year, the free fun continues but the added effect of being in person once again is a central focus for the festival and on everyone’s mind.
This weekend the festival is coming to a head with a variety of different events that all ages can participate in. Events kicking off Thursday include Free Museum Day at the National Constitution Center, in-person Storytime Fun with the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Black Gotham Experience, Wawa Hoagie Day and the Broad + Market: A Festival Experience. According to the release, the latter will include entertainment and art on the Pennsylvania Lottery Groove Stage hosted by DJ Ayeboogie from Radio One, including performances by Trinidad and Tobago Steel Drum Orchestra, The Butlers, Native Nations Dance Theatre, and the Powersurge Performing Arts Center. Guests can mingle with vendors and receive giveaways from Tastykake, and more.
On Friday, the Free Museum Day and the Broad + Market Festival continues, but there is also the addition of Our America Now. Through this specific event, Wawa Welcome America is joining forces with the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia for a free block party. It will celebrate diverse multi-sensory stories and offer something for visitors of all ages — from food trucks and a beer garden by Constellation Culinary Group to art-making demos, a film screening by BlackStar Film Festival, and live performances by several notable poets, including Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta B. Mayson and Ursula Rucker. All of this will be curated by We The People Stage with the Barnes and Mural Arts Philadelphia. As the release states, this event is designed to inspire guests to share their own stories from this unique moment in our shared American history. Guests can also enjoy free admission to the Barnes collection and the critically acclaimed “Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint’ exhibition. Registration is required for collection and exhibition access, and capacity is limited. Free tickets will be available online beginning at 9 a.m. Friday.
On top of everything else the Festival has to offer, Philadelphians can grab a seat at the 33,000 square-foot ground mural created by Mural Arts Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia for the Wawa Welcome America Fireworks on Independence Day. Located at Eakins Oval, this special mural was created over the course of just eight days by Mural Arts Philadelphia Artist Felix St. Fort, and a team of assistant artists. “Welcome Back, Philly” conveys a “new day” concept with a celebratory feel of fireworks over the cityscape and riverfront, depicting people reuniting to once again to experience things they have missed.
Fireworks should kick off on the July 4 at around 7 p.m.
To round things up, Philadelphians can also check out the Philadelphia Soccer 2026 Pitch at Independence Visitors Center, which just opened earlier this week. Open through October 31st, “The Pitch” is a place for fans of all ages and skill levels to show their love for the game with soccer challenges, plus learn more about Philadelphia’s bid to host matches.
For more information on Wawa Welcome America, visit welcomeamerica.com