July 4th Philly celebrations: City prepares Ben Franklin Parkway ahead traffic, crowds

The City of Philadelphia is finalizing last-minute preparations for its annual Fourth of July celebration.

Staging, road closures and security fencing are now in place along the Ben Franklin Parkway for the nation’s 248th birthday.

A team from several city departments met on the Ben Franklin Parkway Tuesday night to go over last-minute logistics and security preparations for Thursday’s event.

One family came here for the week from Montreal. 

The Canadians wanted to get a taste of America on the Fourth with fireworks and all.

"We are in Philadelphia to see the Rocky statue and the museum and we like it" said Nicholas.


The 16 day, 56 event-"Wawa Welcome America Celebration" culminates Thursday night with a free concert on the Parkway featuring performances by Ne-Yo, and Kesha, followed by one of the biggest fireworks displays in the country.

"I wouldn’t be anywhere else but on the Ben Franklin Parkway the 4th of July" said Barthi Reddy from Newtown. She brought her relatives from out of town to see the Parkway before it gets packed with people. But she’ll be back on Fourth.

"Fourth of July Weekend everytime we think of Philadelphia, it’s the Welcome America festival, it’s like everyone from around, they come, it’s like something for everyone" added Reddy.

However, for residents who live nearby, another party on the Parkway typically means a traffic nightmare and mobs of people. 

"Wanting to get outside and walk around. I think it’s really energizing and nice but with the baby I try to stay out of the way" said new mother Savannah Clegg of Francisville.

"It’s crazy because I live right here…and getting home..sometimes I have to go around. Getting stuck at this intersection right here when there’s en event..it takes like 30 minutes. I’d rather stay home" said nearby resident Ricky Sanchez of Francisville.

The celebrations continues Wednesday with Free Museum Days at The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, The Wagner Institute of Science, The Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site and The Academy of Natural History at Drexel University.

Wednesday night also includes "The Salute To Service" concert with the United States Army Field Band featuring Leann Rimes on Independence Mall at 7pm.