Wawa Welcome America Just Unveiled Its 2018 Schedule

There’s a lot to be excited for, including the usual goodies (free hoagies!) and some new surprises.

This year’s Wawa Welcome America festival looks like it’s going to be an especially good one.

The schedule for the seven-day celebration was announced on Monday, and it features not one, but two fireworks shows (include the biggest in a decade, according to festival organizers); free or discounted access to 18 museums and attractions; a gospel performance; a concert starring Pitbull (which we know not everyone is happy about) and, for the first time, a Fourth of July picnic and barbecue at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

The theme of this year’s Wawa Welcome America is “Welcoming the World With Love.” It will kick off at noon on Thursday, June 28th, with the annual Wawa Hoagie Day at Independence Mall and finish on July 4th with a concert (featuring, in addition to Pitbull, the Philly POPS and singer/songwriter Heather Headley), a parade and fireworks in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Here are some highlights:

  • Independence Hall will host three concerts: a gospel performance by more than 150 singers and dancers on June 1st; a tribute to the 2018–19 Broadway Philadelphia season; and a Philly POPS performance starring Heather Headley on July 3rd.
  • The festival will include two fireworks shows. The first will be held on Saturday, June 30th, at the Delaware River Waterfront, and the second will close the festival on July 4th on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
  • A “Summer Love Launch Event” will kick off the celebration. It will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 29th, at Dilworth Park. Expect food, drinks and tributes to Philly artists and neighborhoods.
  • Eighteen museums and cultural institutions will open their doors free of charge (or for an optional pay-what-you-wish offer). They are:
    • National Constitution Center (courtesy of Wawa) on Thursday, June 28th
    • Penn Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary on Friday, June 29th
    • Independence National Historical Park First Bank of the U.S., Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department, The Rosenbach, Philadelphia History Museum and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Saturday, June 30th
    • One Liberty Observation Deck, The Barnes Foundation, Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia Museum of Art and African American Museum in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 1st
    • The Mütter Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art on Monday, July 2nd
    • Rodin Museum and The National Liberty Museum on Tuesday, July 3rd
    • National Museum of American Jewish History on Wednesday, July 4th

  • A Historic District block party will celebrate The Bourse Building on July 3rd. It will run from noon to 7 p.m. and highlight the city’s music, art, entertainment, history, culture and food with dozens of food trucks, pop-up performers, all-ages activities and behind-the-scenes tours of The Bourse Building — plus a beer garden for those over 21.
  • For the first time ever, the festival will expand beyond Philadelphia to Valley Forge. The park will host an outdoor picnic and barbecue with live music, storytellers, demonstrations and tours of the park between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4th.

A full festival schedule and calendardownloadable brochures and details of the festival’s 50 free events can be found at WelcomeAmerica.com.