PHILADELPHIA Going with the theme that the best place to celebrate America's birthday is the place where the country was born, city officials announced Monday the planned festivities for the nation's 238th anniversary.
"This is Philadelphia. We own this," Mayor Nutter said. "There is no better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than right here, Philadelphia, the birthplace of freedom, liberty, and democracy for the United States."
City officials and festival organizers are encouraging people to use #PhillyOwnsthe4th when discussing the event on social media.
The lineup for the 2014 Wawa Welcome America! Fourth of July Jam includes chart-topping pop artists Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc, and Ariana Grande. The series of concerts is free to the public.
The Roots, a Grammy-award-winning band from Philadelphia, will return as the house band this year. The band will play throughout the day on the Questlove Stage.
The group has been performing nightly on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Nutter said Monday he was trying to get Fallon to do his show in Philadelphia for the week of the Fourth of July.
The Welcome America! concert series will be part of a weeklong celebration sponsored by Wawa, starting June 28. New this year to the annual weeklong event will be the Liberty Block Party at the Shops at Liberty Place, where Monday's announcement took place.
The block party, which is to begin things on June 28, will feature food trucks and restaurant stands as well as some live music in the Shops at Liberty Place and in surrounding streets.
Other new activities includes the Mural Art Paint day in West Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood and an interactive exhibit, Go 4th & Learn, at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Smith Memorial Playground, the Playhouse in Fairmount Park, and the National Constitution Center.
Wawa Hoagie Day on July 2 will feed as many as 17,000 people with five tons of Wawa hoagies, some of which are to come together during a hoagie-building competition between Philadelphia firefighters and police officers. Wawa, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will also be honoring 50 military heroes that day.
"Philadelphia is our hometown," Chris Gheysens, Wawa's chief executive officer, said. "We love being a partner here."
Peter Nero will return as conductor emeritus for a Philly Pops concert July 3 on Independence Hall.
Then on July 4, the day will start with a Celebration of Freedom Ceremony in front of Independence Hall, honoring the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark Supreme Court decision desegregating schools. Following the ceremony, Miss America, Nina Davuluri, will join 5,000 participants in the Independence Day Parade through Old City.
The weeklong celebration will conclude with the Party on the Parkway and a fireworks grand finale over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Nutter called the entire event the "biggest and best free concert in the United States of America."
Desiree Peterkin-Bell, city representative and executive director of Welcome America!, added: "We get bigger and better every year."