Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre- and Post-Fourth in and around Philly

Meet Nile hippos Button and Genny at the Adventure Aquarium.
Meet Nile hippos Button and Genny at the Adventure Aquarium. Photo via Adventure Aquarium on Facebook

IS FRIDAY here yet? Nope. But sure feels like it, what with all the goings-on around town getting us pumped for the Fourth.

Choose from family-friendly history and free hoagies, live classic rock and patriotic pops al fresco, old-fashioned games and all-you-can-eat ice cream, plus endless parades and fireworks, from here to Jersey. Heck. Why choose? This is America. Why not do it all. Happy Independence Day - and long weekend - everybody.


All-American Celebration

The sites where it all began double-down on their U.S. history through Sunday, with 10 storytelling benches, flag-raising with Betsy Ross (10 a.m. daily), Colonial dress-up at the Historic Philadelphia Center (6th and Chestnut), carnival games in Franklin Square (6th and Arch), plus cannon drills, crafting, military musters and more.

Throughout Old City, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Sunday (hours vary through summer), most events free, 215-629-4026,

Constitution Center

Learn about our nation's fundamental freedoms and enjoy four performances of "What America Eats: The History of the Hoagie Show." Free admission all day to this Independence Mall landmark; see permanent exhibits and "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello," courtesy of Wawa. On the front lawn, Revolutionary War reenactor encampment, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday.

National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., 10 a.m.-8 p.m., free, 215-409-6600,

PHL photo exhibit

The Terminal A-East Connector (domestic side) unveils its new exhibit of photographs honoring 50 years of the civil rights movement. Open to ticketed passengers only.

Terminal A-East Connector, PHL International, 10 a.m. today through June 2015, free, 215-937-6800,

Wawa Hoagie Day

The 5-ton hero* we've all been holding out for alights on Independence Mall, just in time for a free lunch. (*Actually 5 tons of individual hoagies.)

5th and Chestnut streets, noon, free,


Predictable, yes, but timeless, too: shown on the very steps Stallone first jogged. Bum-ba-da-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum . . .

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Ben Franklin Pkwy., 9 tonight, free,


Let Freedom Rock Fest

Holiday bash boasts Foreigner (still fronted by Mick Jones), Styx and former Eagles high-flyer Don Felder. Preconcert party with military demos, beer garden, music, 11 a.m., Wiggins Park,

Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, 6 p.m., $20-$109, 800-745-3000,

POPS! On Independence

Larry Blank conducts the Philly POPS in America's birthday-eve salute, with Broadway/operatic belter Capathia Jenkins. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St., 8 p.m., free,



North Wildwood's parade is pooch-inclusive (8th and Atlantic avenues, 9 a.m., free, 800-882-7787, Wildwood's Boardwalk hosts a crafts show (Rio Grande Avenue, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Sunday,, while the island's Convention Center puts on a comics-and-more fair (4501 Boardwalk, hours vary through Sunday, 609-729-9000, There's a Buffett tribute band (Fox Park, 6 p.m.), too. But nothing beats fireworks (Pine Avenue and the beach, 10 p.m.). All free.

Celebration of Freedom Ceremony

This year's VIP-studded (Vice President Joe Biden and Martin Luther King III) ceremonial kickoff recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the 60th of the "Brown vs. the Board of Education" decision. Choirs and dancers perform.

Independence Hall steps, 520 Chestnut St., 10-11 a.m., free,

Freedom Day

Jersey's riverfront offers Zydeco A-Go-Go, patriotic harmonies and Motown favorites, plus American fare. On the Battleship New Jersey next door, there's a giant LEGO fleet and pay-as-you-eat barbecue (100 Clinton St., noon-3 p.m., with $21.95 admission, discounts available, 866-877-6262,

Wiggins Park, Camden, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m., free, 856-216-2170,

Germantown Celebration

This most historic of Philly neighborhoods gets in on the act, from Stenton to Cliveden, the Johnson House to Wyck, Concord School to Hood Cemetery, with free tours and admission.

5501 Germantown Ave. and more, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., free, 215-844-1683,

Independence Day Parade

Kinda like the ones in small towns all over America, but ours has Miss America and travels past significant sites in our country's "most historic square mile."

Route: 5th and Chestnut streets, west to 9th, north to Market, east to Front, south to Chestnut; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., free,

Fonthill Castle

It's an old-timey Fourth at Henry Mercer's Bucks County manse, with a children's bike parade (12:30 p.m.), tug-o-wars, watermelon-eating contest, vintage baseball and barbershop quartets. Even the admission fee feels old-fashioned.

Fonthill Castle, East Court Street and Route 313, Doylestown, noon-4 p.m., $2 adults ($1 ages 5-17, free under 5), 215-348-9461,

Party on the Parkway

Food vendors and live music spend all afternoon getting the city psyched for the main concert and fireworks that evening.

20th Street to Eakins Oval along Ben Franklin Parkway, noon-7 p.m., free,

Atlantic City

Two barges and one marina platform make AyCee's skylight display the biggest at the beach.

Beach in Atlantic City, dusk (around 9 p.m.), free, 888-AC-VISIT,


These dare-you-not-to dance funk innovators of the '60s and '70s perform on the waterfront.

SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Ave., 9 p.m., free, 877-477-3715,



Free music all weekend includes a Springsteen tribute band (Centennial Park, Fern Road and Ocean Avenue, Wildwood Crest, 7:30 p.m. Saturday,, the Orlons (Lou Booth Amphitheatre, 2nd and Ocean avenues, 8 p.m. Saturday, North Wildwood, 800-882-7787,, Motown and blues from Tru (Fox Park Amphitheatre, Burk and Ocean avenues, Wildwood, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Or, pay for an eight-hour on-beach, multi-DJ electronic dance music party, BeachGlow (3-11 p.m. Saturday, at Schellenger Avenue, Wildwood, $45, 21-plus,

Super Scooper Ice Cream Festival

Two-day, three-session local fave challenges you to down as much ice cream and water ice as you can, raising money to help kids with cancer.

Great Plaza, Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street, noon-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, $7,

Camden County Freedom Concert

The holiday continues in Jersey with free, family-friendly music from Billy D' Lite, Steve Pullara and His Cool Beans, country crooner Sara Spicer and tribute-makers the Beat-Tells and Sounds of Society (Chicago), followed by 9 p.m. pyrotechnics viewable from both sides of the river.

Wiggins Park, Camden, festival begins at noon, concerts from 3 p.m. Saturday, free, 856-216-2170,

Adventure Aquarium

An "Independence Day Splash" opens the aquarium through the evening for a DJ party and unlimited Hippo Haven access.

Independence Day Splash, Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, $22 ($12 ages 2-12, free under 2), 856-365-3300,

U.S. Army Band + fireworks

On the Philly side, the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" plays patriotic marches to get your heart racing.

Great Plaza, Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street, 8 p.m. Saturday, free, 215-629-3200,

The Family Stone

"Hot Fun in the Summertime" continues as the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers revisit their classic tunes in the open air.

SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Ave., 9 p.m. Saturday, 877-477-3715,

- Compiled by Tom Di Nardo, Lauren McCutcheon and Jonathan Takiff

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