YOU might have heard that some things have changed this year with regards to Philadelphia’s America’s Birthday celebration. Some things won’t be affected by the economy this year. The Parkway will still be having it’s “Fiesta on the Parkway” including the NBA/Sprite best dunkers contest in Philadelphia! We are setting up an outdoor basketball court on Ben Franklin Parkway between 21st and 22nd this Saturday (July 4th), and will begin the competition at 4pm. Registrants need to sign up at 1PM.

There will still be spectacular Philadelphia fireworks set off on the Art Museum steps and from behind the museum
A great VIP section for watching Sheryl Crow and The Roots at the country’s largest free outdoor concert on July 4th. (I think you have to put all those words in there for it to count)But, the parade has been moved to the morning and historic side of the City, so there won’t be a large painted heart in the middle of the road in front of the Art Museum. Also the stage has been moved. (Look at all this room in front of the stage)
Melanie Johnson, executive director of Welcome America, says the July 4th concert will still take place in front of the art museum, however…
“We moved the stage. It used to be on the steps of the art museum, and now it’s in Eakins Oval (the grassy area in front of the museum). And the reason for that is we thought the sight lines would be much better. It also saves us some money.” She’s right, it saved them $300,000 which is significant, but the sight lines are flawed. It’s not on the grass section of Eakin’s Oval, it’s on the parking lot among a bunch of trees.I’m gonna reserve my opinion until tomorrow, but the sight lines seem to suck here, except if your a VIP, as the media stage is set up about 100 years back. This stage holds the sound board, ABC6 folks and the camera crew. So get here early and put your lawn chair on the grass to the right or left on the blacktop.
The 2009 Stage area, and last years placement. It won’t be as much of a spectacle to us at the Philadelphian who enjoy watching the hoards of people below us. I’m sure Melanie’s hands were tied as my opinion is the sight lines are bad. Last year, there used to be the entire 4 lane street and huge grassy area in front of the Washington statue for people to sit. Now the sight line is much more narrower, and across the street is the triangular garden which is smack in the middle of the sight line. Plus the stage is lower, and not on the raised steps.
This is the view from the bottom of the Art Museum steps last night. There used to be all the unobstructed space on either side of this statue to see the stage, now you will have to look through and around a cluster of trees.
At least these newly planted trees near the Art Musuem will hopefully remain untouched.