Philadelphia, PA - Welcome America, Inc. and Mayor Jim Kenney are hosting 50 free events that will create the 2018 Wawa Welcome America seven-day festival taking place Thursday, June 28 through Wednesday, July 4.
The Wawa Welcome America festival celebrates American history, education and Philadelphia. The 2018 festival will encompass free, all-ages, patriotic events in Center City, the Historic District, in Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods and Valley Forge. The festival concludes with 12 hours of non-stop commemorations and celebrations on July 4th. The theme of this year’s Wawa Welcome America is “Welcoming the World with Love.”
The festival kicked off on Thursday, June 28 at noon at Independence Mall in Philadelphia’s Historic District with the annual Wawa Hoagie Day honoring U.S. troops and will conclude on July 4 with the most patriotic events and a star-spangled parade right where it all began at Independence National Historical Park. It all leads up to the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks starring Pitbull and The Philly POPS® BIG Band with special guest Heather Headley on the stage in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Philly POPS will be honored for their 40-year history in Philadelphia and their contributions to education in schools.
Explore the 2018 Welcome America story map and plan your day with important public safety information. Find parkway amenities such as water stations, jumbotrons, and porta-potties, medical help and lost and found. The story map also includes road closure maps for the Parkway and Old City: www.phila.gov/welcomeamerica
The National Weather Service Mount Holly forecast has temperatures being in the 90’s through July 4th.
To help avoid heat-related illness, those attending events should plan out their trip, including:
- Bringing enough water or reusable water containers;
- Knowing where to keep cool and dehydrated. On July 4th, there will be free refillable water stations along the Parkway along with misting tents;
- Avoiding caffeinated, sugary, or drink with alcohol;
- Taking advantage of indoor activities like free museums and seek breaks from the sun;
- Paying attention to those more vulnerable to the heat like young children, seniors, or those with health conditions;
- Dressing in light colored clothing, preferably with an SPF rating and UV protection for children;
- Knowing the location of Philadelphia Fire EMS tents along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway July 4th, and;
Call 911 if you or someone you’re with is showing signs of heat-related illness.
For more tips to beat the heat, visit https://www.phila.gov/ready
Areas across the city including streets near Independence Mall and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be impacted by Wawa Welcome America activities. Expect delays. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes, avoid areas near festivities, allow for extra driving time and proceed with caution near these events.
Due to increased activity and security surrounding the Wawa Welcome America events, parking and traffic regulations will be strictly enforced. Many roads adjacent to event sites will be posted with no-parking signage for the public. The following are the scheduled road closures, including set-up and deconstruction of staging/event equipment, on Independence Mall in the historic district and on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway:
FRIDAY, JUNE 29
Pops Concert stage construction
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
Pops Concert ongoing stage construction
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 1
Gospel Performance at Independence Hall
Unit block of South 5th Street, between Chestnut and Market streets, will be closed from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
MONDAY, JULY 2
Kimmel Broadway Performance at Independence Hall
Unit block of South 5th Street, between Chestnut and Market streets, will be closed from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
TUESDAY, JULY 3
Philadelphia Historic District Block Party and The Philly POPS on Independence
Noontime event activity on July 3rd until 10 p.m., including televised Pops on Independence concert, beginning at 7 p.m.
6th Street, between Race and Chestnut streets, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Arch Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
5th Street, between Market and Walnut streets and Including Ranstead and Ludlow Streets, between 4th and 5th streets, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, from 6 a.m. through the post-event break-down of the festivities on July 4 at about 7 p.m.
6th Street, between Market and Chestnut will remain closed overnight until the post-event break down of the festivities on July 4th at about 5 p.m.
For preparation of July 4th activities on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Party on the Parkway and Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert & Fireworks)
The inner lanes of the Parkway, between 20th and Eakins Oval, will be closed, from 9:30 a.m. until July 5th at 5 a.m. Outbound lanes will reopen for evening rush hour on Monday, July 3rd.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 4 / INDEPENDENCE DAY
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony, United States of America’s Independence Day Parade, and related Wawa Welcome America activities on Independence Mall. Activities take place throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m.
- Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, from the prior-day closures will be in effect until 7 p.m.
- 6th Street, between Market and Chestnut streets, from prior day until 7 p.m.
- 3rd Street, Arch to Walnut, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- 4th Street, Arch to Walnut, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- 5th Street, Arch to Walnut, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Chestnut Street, from Front Street to 7th Street, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Chestnut Street, from 7th Street to 10th Street, will be closed at 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The rest of the morning parade route will be closed at approximately 10 a.m. on July 4, 2018.
PARADE ROUTE: Staging will take place in the 400 block of Chestnut Street and proceed west on Chestnut to 9th, north on 9th to Market, east on Market to the dispersal area on Front Street.
All streets affected by the parade will be cleaned before being re-opened to vehicular traffic.
SONS OF THE REVOLUTION PARADE (12:30 PM):
At approximately 12:30 p.m., Sons of the Revolution Parade will stage on Dock Street, in front of the Sheraton Hotel, and proceed west on Walnut to the dispersal area in the 500 block of Walnut Street. This route will only be closed intermittently until the Parade reaches its destination.
WAWA WELCOME AMERICA PARTY ON THE PARKWAY/CONCERT/FIREWORKS
(5:00 AM on July 4th to approximately 6:00 AM on July 5th CLOSURE, unless noted otherwise):
- Inner Lanes of the Ben Franklin Parkway, 18th to the Art Museum, will be closed July 3rd at 9:30 a.m. to July 5th at 5:00 a.m.
- Outer Lanes of the Ben Franklin Parkway, 18th Street to Art Museum.
- Eakins Oval
- Rear of Art Museum (Media Entry at 25th & Kelly from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.)
- 2000/2100 Blocks of Winter Street
- MLK Drive (Officials displaying the Welcome America “All Access” passes will be permitted onto the MLK Drive at Montgomery)
- I-676 off ramp @ 22nd Street
- 1-676 off ramp @ 23rd Street
- I-76 E/B off ramp @Spring Garden
- 20th Street, Arch to Ben Franklin Parkway (Vendor Check-In at 20th & Race)
- 16th & 17th Streets, Arch to Spring Garden, will be closed as needed.
(July 4th, after 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.)
- Arch Street to Spring Garden/18th to 22nd Street
- Arch Street to Fairmount/22nd to Corinthian Street
FIREWORKS SECURITY ZONE
(3 p.m. on July 4th to approximately 5 a.m. on July 5th CLOSURE, unless noted otherwise)
- Kelly Drive, Fairmount Avenue to Eakins Oval, will be closed July 4th at 5 a.m. to July 5th at 5 a.m.
- Kelly Drive, South Ferry Road to Fairmount Avenue
- Lemon Hill
- Sedgley Drives
- Waterworks Drive
- Poplar & Poplar
Sign up for free text alerts from the City. Text AMERICA to 888-777 to receive info on weather, transit, safety, and event updates.
If you’re attending July 4th Party and the Parkway, concert, and fireworks, listen for public safety announcements over the public-address system or jumbotrons. Information will also be published to AMERICA subscribers through text alerts and on city and event social media; @PhiladelphiaGov, @PhilaOEM, @July4thPhilly.
On the Parkway July 4th, there will be 2 Philadelphia Fire EMS medic tents located on the north and south side of Eakin’s Oval. Free refillable water station will be next to the EMS tents along with a third location. A third water station will be available on the Parkway. If you need help, look for Philadelphia Police along the Parkway.
Philadelphia’s mass transit system, SEPTA, offers two subway lines, regional rail service to and from the
surrounding suburbs, and bus service throughout the City.
Regional rail service, the Market Frankford Line, and the Broad Street Line will operate on a Sunday schedule with additional cars added to increase rider capacity at the break of the event. Check www.septa.org for more details.
At approximately 4:15PM, SEPTA will stage buses for those leaving the Parkway at the following locations:
N 20th St – West side of street facing south between Race & Cherry Sts
- Route 16 to Ogontz
- Route 17 to S 20th & Johnston Sts
- Route 42 to Wycombe
N 21st St – West side of street facing south between Winter St & Race St
- Route 21 to 69th St,
- Route 42 to Wycomb
- Route 4 to S Broad St & Oregon Ave
N 22nd St – Between Hamilton and Spring Garden Sts
- Route 33 to Venango
- Route 48 to N 27th St & Allegheny Ave
- Route 32 to Ridge & Lyceum Aves
Due to the numerous road closures, SEPTA CCT will have two designated rendezvous points at 2299 Arch St and 560 N 20th St. From 7:00PM July 3rd to 5:00AM July 5th, these locations are to be used to coordinate CCT pick up and drop off for neighborhoods impacted by the Parkway road closures.
ADA Pick Up / Drop Off
ADA vehicles are encouraged to pick up / drop off along Pennsylvania Ave and Park Towne Place. However, there is no parking available at these locations.
Due to the numerous road closures, SEPTA CCT will have two designated rendezvous points at South at 2299 Arch St and at 560 N 20th St.
The Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop will operate a special holiday service on Monday, July 4th. For only $2 per ride or $5 per day, the PHLASH is the quick, convenient, and affordable way to access 22 key destinations across the city. Purchase passes (with exact change) onboard, at any Visitor Center location, or online. For updated holiday route detour and schedule information, visit www.PhillyPHLASH.com, or call 800-537-7676.
Taxi & Rideshare
Taxi and rideshare vehicles can stage along the N 20th St between Cherry St and Race St and on Spring Garden St from N 22nd to N 20th St. Standing or stopping along Pennsylvania Ave or Park Towne Place is not permitted.
For-pay parking lots and garages conveniently are located on or near the Parkway. Call individual facilities ahead for parking options, prices and availability, or visit the Philadelphia Parking Authority website for information on some of these parking facilities at https://philapark.org/. In the historic district, there are many options including the AutoPark garage underneath the Independence Visitor Center at 5th and 6th streets, between Market and Arch streets: https://www.philapark.org/autopark-at-independence-mall/
Venue Rules and Public Safety Information
The vicinity of the Parkway and concert (a boundary from at least 20th & the Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and adjacent areas), will be secured and protected for a safe ad fun celebration. Throughout July 4th, the City will provide enhanced law-enforcement and emergency medical services. The City and Welcome America! are coordinating with local, state and federal public safety authorities to ensure everyone can enjoy the Fourth of July.
Those attending the July 4th activities can do their part by making a plan regarding driving, public transit, parking, supervision of children and wearing comfortable, seasonal attire.
City officials are urging the public to refrain from bringing alcohol, coolers, open containers or cooking equipment to ensure a safe and fun festival experience. Barbecuing on the Parkway, contraband and illegal substances (firearms or fireworks) are absolutely prohibited.
Keep possessions and bags with you always, and do no leave them unattended.
In emergencies or to report a suspicious person, activity or item (a backpack, package, or container), notify a police officer immediately or call 9-1-1. Do not try to open, move, cover or touch a suspicious item.
The Philadelphia Fire Department’s EMS Division will have medic teams spread across the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Medic tents are located on the north and south side of the Parkway at N 24th St. Call 911 if you are having a medical emergency or see someone who may need medical attention.
Parents or guardians should immediately report a missing child to the nearest law enforcement officer, medic, private security representative or information booth.
There are two American Red Cross tents adjacent to the medic tents. From there, the American Red Cross will coordinate the search for missing children with the full support of public safety representatives on the Parkway. If the search and reunification should take more than 30 minutes, the child or parents will move to PPD 9th District Headquarters (401 N 21st Street) to continue the search.
Be sure to take a photo of your child before arriving at the Welcome America events. If separated, this will be very helpful for those searching for your child. It’s also a good idea to have children memorize their parent’s cell phone number.
If you’ve lost a personal belonging, look for the nearest information booth where you last had the item. Welcome America staff can check if the item has been returned there or at other information booths.
Any items found after the start of the concert (7:00PM) will be taken to the Welcome America operations trailer at the southeast corner of N 22nd St & Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
“Location markers” will be posted to easily identify a location on the Parkway and Eakins Oval (by letter and number, for example: K-1) to facilitate communicating during the activities, especially in the event of an emergency.
No Drone Zone
Hobbyist drone pilots are not permitted to fly over Welcome America Party on the Parkway or USA Independence Day Parade as established by U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 14 – Part 101.
Commercial drone pilots are permitted to fly only if registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and have made the appropriate notifications to the FAA, nearby airports and heliports. The City of Philadelphia also requests that commercial drone pilots complete a notification form for the awareness of the City’s public safety officials. The form can be found here.
One commercial flight has been permitted on behalf of NBC10 near N 25th St & Kelly Dr. The drone will be in operation from 6:00PM-10:30PM on Wednesday, July 4th.
All event goers are encouraged to report any other drone sightings to the nearest law enforcement officer. If possible, take note of the drone’s location, characteristics, and take a picture the aircraft. Quickly scan the area to see if you can spot the operator and report these details to the officer.
Cultural and Historical Institutions
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center will be open, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., through September 4, and open until 8 p.m. on July 1, 2 and 4. The West Wing, Old City Hall and Congress Hall will be open, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on July 4.
For information about free events celebrating Independence Day in Independence National Historical Park and Historic Philadelphia, visit the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets (open 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., from July 1 to July 4), or online at PHLvisitorcenter.com/July4 (https://www.phlvisitorcenter.com/july4). Share your experience enjoying America’s Birthday in its Birthplace on social media using #HistoricPhilly.
The July 4th schedules for cultural institutions in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway area vary; some museums will maintain normal Tuesday hours for the holiday, while others are closed. For more information, visit parkwaymuseumsdistrict.org or the museums’ individual websites.
Portable toilets, including ADA-compliant units, will be available for activities throughout the Ben Franklin Parkway, from 21 Street to Art Museum Drive.
Most buildings in the historic park district are accessible including Benjamin Franklin Museum, Congress Hall, Declaration House, Great Essentials Exhibit, Independence Visitor Center Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, Old City Hall and Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank. Accessible restrooms are available in the Independence Visitor Center, the Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank and in the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Wheelchairs are available for borrowing at the Independence Visitor Center for use while in the park. All park ranger-led outdoor tours are on paved walks and use curb cuts. Most cover only 3-to-4 blocks, and are suitable for people of all abilities.
All streets will be cleaned after each event and trash containers will be emptied during and after near Wawa Welcome America festivities. Trash and recyclables citywide will not be collected on Tuesday, July 4. Most City offices will be closed and many City services will be curtailed on July 4 — a legal holiday.