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Plan ahead: Welcome America! lineup and schedule released

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Welcome America Inc. formally announced performers and free events for the eight-day festival Wawa Welcome America! presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, beginning Monday June 27 and running through the Fourth of July.

The Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert  on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway begins at an earlier time of 5 p.m., with two more hours of live music, and cumulates with the fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Performers include:

  • Leslie Odom Jr. from the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” The Tony-nominated actor  was raised in West Philadelphia, and debuts a new album in June.
  • Yazz the Greatest of Fox’s “Empire.” The actor and rapper was  born in West Philadelphia.
  • Brotherly Love the five-member a cappella group from Philadelphia who rose to fame after an impromptu backstage performance for President Obama.
  • “The Sound of Philadelphia,”  a tribute to Gamble & Huff, with performances by The O’Jays, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and The Intruders with the Urban Guerrilla Orchestra.

The Philly POPS return with “POPS on the Parkway,” featuring a 65-piece orchestra and patriotic performances with Philadelphia-native guest vocalists, “The Lion King”’s Allison Blackwell, and opera star Justin Hopkins.

Highlights this year:

  • A daytime family concert event July 4 at Eakins Oval by Kidz Bop Kids Live – the No. 1 Kid’s Album Artist in the U.S. – plus an opening DJ set and beatboxing with the kids with hip-hop legend Biz Markie, who has toured with “Yo Gabba Gabba Live.”
  • Three nights of free fireworks shows. The first two will occur at the Delaware River Waterfront on  July 1 and 2 at 9:30 p.m. and a July 4th grand finale (starting earlier this year) at 10 p.m.
  • The Independence Day Parade, featuring 4,000 marchers in Historic Philadelphia on July 4.
  • Wawa associates, Food Network chef Robert Irvine, WMMR’s Preston & Steve and hoagie fans from across the region will join in celebration of the 24th annual Wawa Hoagie Day on Thursday June 30, a day dedicated to honoring our troops and building on The Wawa Foundation’s partnership with the USO.
  • Eight days of free museum admission for residents, including The Barnes Foundation, the National Constitution Center, the African-American Museum in Philadelphia, the Ben Franklin Museum, Museum Without Walls, the National Museum of Jewish American History and the Rodin Museum.
  • The City of Philadelphia’s Office of the City Representative will produce the July 4th Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall, with a tribute “Everyday Heroes.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will present a new award, the Philadelphia Magis Award (Latin for more or better).
  • During the City’s Celebration of Freedom Ceremony on July 4 at 10 a.m., the Wawa Foundation will present The Wawa Foundation “Hero Award” to a non-profit organization serving the greater Philadelphia area that assists others and helps to advance communities.
  • Seven free Philly @ the Movies screenings under the stars in neighborhoods across the city. Locations include: Franklin Square, Xfinity Live!, steps at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Penn’s Landing at Delaware River Waterfront, The Piazza at Schmidt’s, Tustin Recreation Center and a special movie preview experience.
  • A citywide simultaneous book reading at all 54 Philadelphia Free Libraries, as part of the Go 4th & Learn series, led by Mayor Jim Kenney. Children will also enjoy 10,000 free books, thanks to Duffy Books in Homes USA.

The festival will be broadcast regionally on NBC10, Telemundo62, Cozi TV, TCN, and TeleXitos. Events will also be live-streamed on the NBC10 and Telemundo62 websites. Festival guides that will help residents and visitors navigate the events throughout the week will live on the NBC10 and Telemundo62 mobile apps. There will also be content on XFinity On Demand.

More festival information will be announced in early June.

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