Philly’s July 4th Wawa Welcome America Celebration Will Be Virtual This Year

A reminder that life isn’t going back to normal anytime soon.


Philadelphia just announced that the Wawa Welcome America 2020 festival will be virtual this year thanks to the coronavirus. (Getty Images)

Were you planning on heading out to the Ben Franklin Parkway on July 4th? If so, it’s time to come up with a new plan. The city just announced that the annual weeklong Wawa Welcome America celebration is going virtual this year.

That’s right: Welcome America 2020 will be online and online only. You can thank the coronavirus.

According to a statement from Welcome America, the non-profit that throws Philly’s big Fourth of July party each year:

This year, Wawa Welcome America will be reimagined to create meaningful, at-home experiences that will embody the same spirit of celebration that Philadelphians have come to know and love over the past 28 years. Arts, culture, education, history and performance will continue to play a starring role in the festival, along with new virtual opportunities to expand and enhance Wawa Welcome America’s free and interactive programming.

“It is a challenging time, and while we may not be able to gather in our city’s great public spaces this year, we are eager to celebrate in a new way through interactive, virtual experiences,” said Welcome America president and CEO Michael DelBene.

Welcome America says that there will be a concert. But beyond that, details are slim. Will the Roots play? Will there be actual fireworks of any kind? How do we get free Wawa hoagies and all-you-can-eat ice cream if Welcome America 2020 is virtual? More details are expected in June.

“The City of Philadelphia is proud to support the Welcome America team in their commitment to delivering a virtual festival this year,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “With the health and safety of our community top of mind, we are confident that this virtual event will continue to create new opportunities to bring our community together in celebration of America’s birthday. Philadelphia is a strong city of strong traditions, and I am excited to see this important tradition continue.”

We’ll keep you posted.