The July Fourth extravaganza of fireworks, music, movies, food, and history began Monday with a children's history event in Franklin Square. Movies about Ferris Bueller and Rocky Balboa have been screened.
On Tuesday, Peter Nero will raise his baton to lead the Philly Pops in a concert at Independence Hall. The finale is scheduled for Wednesday, with a concert featuring the Roots on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
At the food festival Saturday, visitors and Philly residents ate their way through an afternoon of jazz performances, dining al fresco on dishes including empanadas, kebabs, quesadillas, and hot dogs.
Jamillah Washington, a foodie from Gloucester County, first tasted the meatballs and pronounced them "really good" and then tried a pulled-pork quesadilla - also "really good."
Gill Mayol, of Brooklyn, opted for some famous Philadelphia cuisine. He got two cheesesteaks with whiz. "Excellent," Mayol said.
On stage at Penn's Landing, an afternoon of mostly jazz and blues gave way to performances by three finalists in the event's second annual singer/songwriter competition.
Kevonna Rose Venable bested Tha Minista and Grace Bernicker, winning a four-hour recording session with award-winning Philadelphia producers Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias. Venable will also perform at the July Fourth concert on the Parkway.
Under the noontime sun, Justin Goncalves shot hoops in the heat next to the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat ice cream tent. Goncalves, 26, a personal trainer, participated in a sports game hosted by NBA Nation, a traveling basketball playground.
"Well, there's a light breeze that's making this possible," said Goncalves, of Queen Village. "I was in there less than a minute, but it felt like an hour."
Philadelphia firefighters were standing by just in case Goncalves or anyone else had a problem. Three ambulances were parked near the site and 13 firefighters circulated on Segways equipped with life-support equipment.
Later Saturday, performers Regina Carter and Gerald Veasley were scheduled to take the stage. On Sunday, Taste of Philadelphia is scheduled to turn into the equivalent of church-on-the-landing featuring gospel singers including Byron Cage and an all-Philadelphia mass choir assembled for the occasion.
Contact Kristin E. Holmes
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