Philadelphia to Welcome America again this year

May 14, 2009 3:51:10 PM PDT
There are some changes in store for the 2009 July fourth festivities.

"When you think about the fourth of July," said Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, "this is the place to be."

It is getting close to that time of year again. And as always, the Sunoco Welcome America will be filled with two weeks of family fun. It will include the Taste of Philadelphia from June 26th to June 28th and the 4th of July Fireworks Finale on the Parkway.

And here is something that will get your attention: the free outdoor concert that brought you the soulful sounds of John Legend last year will feature platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning artist Sheryl Crow this year.

"If we attract bigger names for our big concert after our morning ceremony that celebrates our history, then we'll get more people in," said Welcome America Executive Director Melanie Johnson. "And that will have an economic impact on the city of Philadelphia, it puts us on the national map, and we're all happy."

This year the stage will be moved to Eakins Oval, which will give concertgoers a better view of the concert and the fireworks. That's not the only change. The Independence Day Parade will be relocated to historic Philadelphia for the first time in 18 years.

The 90-minute parade will start at 5th and Chestnut, circle Independence Mall, and end at Market and Front Streets.

"To have the historic parade within the most historic square mile in America I think highlights and re-emphasizes what this is really all about," said Nutter.

Perhaps on the mind of some Philadelphians: how much is this going to cost a city which continues to suffer in the current economic crisis? The events will bring in an estimated $100 million in revenue. The remaining costs will be covered by corporate sponsors, fundraising and state funds.

As always, you will be able to watch the concert live, and see highlights from throughout the day, on July fourth on 6abc.

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