The Fourth is with us: Let freedom ring and ring and ring

The Battleship New Jersey is dressed in signal flags, bunting and U.S. flags, Thursday, July 3, 2014 to kickoff a number of activities for the 2014 Camden Freedom Festival that runs through Sunday. The holiday weekend will feature fireworks, live music, special activities, food and beer gardens and more to celebrate our nation's birthday. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Battleship New Jersey is dressed in signal flags, bunting and U.S. flags, Thursday, July 3, 2014 to kickoff a number of activities for the 2014 Camden Freedom Festival that runs through Sunday. The holiday weekend will feature fireworks, live music, special activities, food and beer gardens and more to celebrate our nation's birthday. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Posted: July 05, 2014

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

The Fourth's landing on Friday means three consecutive days dedicated to celebrating the nation's 238th birthday.

When the last rocket bursts over the Parkway Friday night, rest easy knowing that, come morning, more freedom-focused festivities await you instead of the daily grind.

Start Friday with eats and entertainment at the Camden County Freedom Festival on the Camden Waterfront; catch the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade as it marches through the city's most historic square mile; and finish with the star-studded Philly Fourth of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks.

Saturday, you can head down the Shore to Wildwood for the electronic dance music-fueled BeachGlow Music Festival. Or stay put to catch the Adventure Aquarium Waterfront Fireworks Celebration.

Bring a sweet end to the holiday on Sunday with a stop at Penn's Landing for the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival (happening Friday and Saturday as well).

Here's how you can make the most of this Starred and Striped weekend:

Friday

The final day of Wawa Welcome America! gets underway at 11 a.m. as more than 5,000 participants in the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade step off in front of Independence Hall and march through the city's historic sector.

At the same time, the Camden County Freedom Festival resumes with Family Freedom Day. Hear patriotic music from the '40s to today, and let zydeco tunes transport you to the Big Easy at Wiggins Park. Board the Battleship New Jersey for some BBQ on the fantail. Then, feast your eyes on giant ship models made from Legos.

Back across the Delaware River at noon, food vendors and games fill the Parkway for the next leg of the Welcome America! party, followed at 7 by the Philly Fourth of July Jam, the "Largest Free Concert in America," and the Grand Finale Fireworks. The concert features homegrown hip-hop/neo-soul band the Roots, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc, Ariana Grande, and Vicci Martinez.

For those in Jersey, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst opens its doors to the public at 5 p.m. for free Independence Day festivities for the first time in two years. At Doughboy Field, listen to live music as you enjoy vendors' fare. A bounce house and face-painting will keep the kids happy leading up to the fireworks, at 9:30.

And, as usual, the Shore is hoppin' on the Fourth.

In Sea Isle City, kids 3 to 13 can compete in the annual Junior Olympics competition at Dealy Field, Central Avenue between 59th and 63d Streets. The competition includes running, jumping, and throwing events. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

At 7:30 p.m., at the Excursion Park Band Shell, JFK Boulevard and Promenade, the Atlantic Pops honors John Philip Sousa with a free concert of his classic Americana marches, followed by fireworks at 9.

There's more star-spangled merriment and free music in the Wildwoods. The day begins in North Wildwood with the Independence Day Parade at 9 a.m., Ninth and Atlantic Avenues. Pups decked out in patriotic apparel join the procession at Eighth and Atlantic Avenues.

Leading up to the pizzazz of Wildwood pyrotechnics at 10 p.m., take your pick of seaside entertainment. For Parrotheads, Jimmy Buffett tribute band Changes in Latitudes whisks listeners away to Margaritaville at Fox Park at 6 p.m. Those looking for a blast from the past can head to Centennial Park in Wildwood Crest at 8 to catch swing-style vocal trio Manhattan Dolls bring to life the sounds of the '20s through the '60s.

Saturday

If you're Shore-bound or haven't left the beach behind yet, get your adrenaline pumping from 3 to 11 p.m. at the BeachGlow Music Festival, sponsored by nonprofit electronic dance music producer Beach Glow Concerts for Charity Inc. The lineup includes acts such as Canadian electro duo DVBBS and Philadelphia's own Get KunKed. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at www.ticketfly.com. Proceeds benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Back in Camden, the Freedom Festival continues with more music in Wiggins Park, followed about 9 by the Adventure Aquarium Waterfront Fireworks Celebration.

Starting at 6:30, celebrate the Fourth with finned friends inside the aquarium, where the annual Independence Day Splash will feature stilt-walkers, a DJ, and patriotic freebies. Tickets are $22 for adults ($12 children 2 to 12) and can be purchased at www.adventureaquarium.com.

Those 21 and older can board the Ben Franklin Yacht at 7 p.m. for a three-hour cruise along the Delaware, with a BBQ buffet, a live DJ, and a great view of the Waterfront fireworks. Tickets for the yearly event are $65 and can be purchased at http://benfranklinyacht.ticketleap.com/independence-day-fireworks-extravaganza-cruise.

Throughout the day (noon to 5, 6 to 9 p.m.), stop by Penn's Landing for the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival. A $7 donation lets you sample cool treats from Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry's, Bassetts, and other creameries, and supports the Joshua Kahan Fund's fight against pediatric leukemia.

For a taste of historic New Jersey, look no further than Mount Holly Township. Beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Ironworks Park, you'll find festive fixings (live entertainment, street food). The fireworks go off at dusk.

Sunday

The Freedom Festival concludes with U.S. Military Day. Veterans, active members of the military, and their families can enjoy $10 admission to Adventure Aquarium (with military ID); World War II vets and former crew members of the USS New Jersey can explore the battleship free of charge.

If you didn't get your fill of ice cream on Saturday, you have one more chance to sample the creamy confections at Penn's Landing from noon to 5 p.m.

Close the weekend in true patriotic fashion at Peter Wentz Farmstead in Lansdale, 2030 Shearer Rd., where the Declaration of Independence will be read from 2 to 3 p.m.

 


zmiller@phillynews.com

215-854-2301@Zoe_M_Miller

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