May 11, 2022 - Things to Do

Wawa's Welcome America Festival returns bigger and better

Fireworks in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Fireworks during Wawa Welcome America Fourth of July Concert at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2019. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty

Philadelphia's largest party is back and bigger than ever before.

What's happening: Wawa's Welcome America Festival will return to a fully in-person format this summer for the first time since 2019, with events and programming across the city.

  • The free festival will double in length to 16 days, kicking off with a Juneteenth Block Party on June 19 and ending with the "Party on the Parkway" concert on July 4.
  • Pop star Ava Max and singer Jason Derulo will headline the Independence Day concert and fireworks display on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

What they're saying: Michael DelBene, president and CEO of the event, said during a news conference Tuesday that the festival serves as a bellwether for Philly.

  • "If we're back, the city's back," he said. "It gives our city a reason to come together and celebrate all the things that we've been through, all the things that we've survived together."

Flashback: The pandemic forced the festival to go virtual in 2020, and organizers held a hybrid event in 2021, with a scaled-down July 4 concert at the Mann Center.

What to expect: This year's festival will include the following events:

  • June 19: Juneteenth Block Party will feature live performances, vendors, food trucks, activities and more.
  • June 26: Gospel singer Yolanda Yvette Adams will headline musical performances during "Gospel on Independence."
  • June 29: Wawa Hoagie Day, with 7 tons of free Wawa Hoagies served along Independence Mall.
  • July 1: Fireworks over Cherry Street Pier as well as a spotlight of notable moments in history for women and Indigenous, Black, Hispanic, Asian, immigrant and LGBTQ+ communities.
  • July 2: A block party by Esperanza Arts Center will celebrate Latin and Hispanic cultures.
  • July 3: The Philly POPS will perform at the Independence Mall.

Plus: More than two dozen museums will also offer free admission during the festival.

How to watch: NBC10 will air live broadcasts of events and fireworks.

  • Parts of the festival can also be streamed on NBC's streaming services, including Peacock.

Go deeper: Find more events and information on the Welcome America Festival's website.

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