Wawa Welcome America!’s Taste of Philadelphia, Music Extravaganza & Fireworks Kick Off The 10 Day Celebration

Wawa Welcome America!’s Taste of Philadelphia is bigger & better than before Taste of Philadelphia kicks off Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s free 11-day July 4th Festival, with a weekend of culinary favorites and all-star entertainment starting June 24-26 at Penn’s Landing, Chestnut Street and Columbus Boulevard. This year’s Taste of Philadelphia is even bigger and better than ever before, as the Festival footprint is expanded two blocks over the Chestnut Street bridge to Front Street. Philly’s famous Food Trucks, a new and innovative addition to the event, will set up shop along the bridge, including favorites La Marqueza, Insomnia and Dapper Dog and treats Call Me Cupcakes and Sweet Box. Also, a second stage for entertainment, in addition to the RiverStage, will be introduced this year on the corner of Chestnut and Front Streets. Throughout the weekend, this Old City Stage will feature a DJ playing world music, and notable Philadelphia chefs from Cuba Libre, Sampan and Feast Your Eyes will showcase cooking demonstrations. “We are thrilled to expand Taste of Philadelphia in all categories – entertainment, food and location,” said Melanie Johnson, city representative and executive director of Wawa Welcome America!. “We anticipate people will be very impressed with the wide variety of top-notch artists and delicious dishes set to delight people of all ages throughout the entire weekend.” New participants this year include Chenango, Tiffin, Stella Jeannes, Kuzina by Sophia, Feast Your Eyes, Marabella Meatball Company, Gigi Restaurant and Innovative Catering Concepts. Additional restaurants include Jamaican Jerk Hut, Keatings River Grill, Darlings Diner, Hard Rock Café, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Irish Ice. Another new twist this year is the enhancement of music genres, with jazz, blues, Latin jazz, gospel and world music now in the mix. Friday night’s line-up includes Philadelphia’s own Gerald Veasley; he will round out opening night at 7:30 p.m. with jazz favorites performed under the stars after a performance by the Philadelphia Freedom Jazz Orchestra. During the day on Saturday, find a seat along the waterfront and enjoy performances by acclaimed and local musicians such as the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz, Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, Toy Soldier, Deb Callahan, Brass Heaven featuring Jeff Bradshaw and Venissa Santi with special guest Eva Cortes. Also, at 3 p.m., the finalists of the Wawa Welcome America! Singer/songwriter Competition will showcase their talents and compete to impress the judges on the RiverStage. Then, on Saturday, June 25 at 8 p.m., singer and songwriter Somi will open the evening’s concert with her acoustic, culture-merging elegance. She has recorded songs in English and three East African languages. Headliner and hitmaker Aaron Neville then rocks the stage with his famous combination of rhythm and blues, followed by a fireworks extravaganza over the Delaware River — the first of three fireworks displays during Wawa Welcome America!. Taste of Philadelphia concludes on Sunday, June 26, dishing out more savory flavors and sounds Philadelphia is known for. Local gospel choirs, jazz musicians and blues bands will perform including Frank Bey and the Swing City Blues Band, Delton Walker, the Sounds of Life Choir and Zak Williams and One Akord. Ending on a high note, James “JJ” Hairston and Youthful Praise, the inspired pen and iconic sound that introduced such gospel hits as “Awesome God” and “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” will headline the concert at 6 p.m. on the RiverStage.*********************
Stay tuned as I cover the WAWA Welcome America! events. This post is brought to you with the support of Wawa Welcome America. Connect with WAWA Welcome America on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @July4thPhilly.