A festive, muscular 4th

Posted: June 22, 2007

A Guinness world record attempt, concerts, a strongman competition, parades and a food festival will be part of this year's Sunoco Welcome America Fourth of July celebration, city officials announced yesterday.

The festival, which will run from June 28 to July 4, will include the traditional fireworks, Opera on the Square, parades and concerts as well as several new additions.

"We're going to try to bring the Guinness world record for the largest salsa dance to America," said Barbara Grant, media consultant for Welcome America. "We're trying to get out more than 4,000 people at the Fiesta Goya."

According to Grant, the festival attempted to break the record in 2004 but fell short. The current record is held by Barcelona, Spain, with roughly 3,800 people, said Grant.

Additionally, this year's festival will include for the first time a strongman competition with participants from all over the world and a circus carnival on June 30, according to Welcome America.

The festival will also be bringing back for its second year the Taste of Philadelphia, where visitors can sample dishes by local chefs. This event drew a crowd of roughly 25,000 people last year, according to Grant.

The headliner for this year's Fourth of July concert will be rock group Hall and Oates.

In addition to announcing the events, managing director of the city Loree Jones discussed coordination for safety precautions and transportation issues including road closures.

Philadelphia's Independence Day festival, in its 14th year, is the largest in the nation, bringing in nearly one million people and generating an estimated $100 million each year, according to Welcome America statistics.

For a complete listing of Welcome America events, go to

Contact staff writer Katie Stuhldreher at 215-854-2601 or stuhldk@phillynews.com.

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