Celebrating America's birthday: July fourth in Philadelphia

EMBED </>More Videos

Watch the report from Jeff Chirico on Action at 11 on July 4, 2017. (WPVI)

A stunning display lit up the night sky over the Art Museum Tuesday night, capping off a week-long celebration in the city where it all began.

Philly's own Boys II Men wowed the tens of thousands who lined the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for Welcome America's massive free concert.

Many decked out in their patriotic finest for a night of food and fun.

But not everyone was smiling. About 500 people received fraudulent VIP tickets to the concert, and weren't allowed inside the gates.

"You want to come see an artist you and your family like, but you can't get into the show." said Leo Thomas of Gibbstown, New Jersey.

Around 8:30 p.m. fast moving storms moved in, sending many drenched concert-goers scrambling and delaying headliner Mary J Blige.

But the concert eventually went on.

Celebrating America in its birthplace is particularly meaningful for Army veteran Bruce Rodgers from West Philadelphia.

"It shows the country is united. Shows people can get along at different events to honor our forefathers in a way," Rodgers said.

EMBED More News Videos

Watch the report from John Rawlins on Action News at 4 p.m. on July 4, 2017.

Earlier in the day, festivities were kicked off in the spot where it all began: on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

18th century architecture and costumed re-enactors blended with 21st century tourists near the spot where a declaration was written that would make history.

"It's just cool to be here," said Sherry Carley, visiting from Houston, Texas. "This is a cool place to be."

Independence Hall was the backdrop for the city's formal July Fourth ceremony.

EMBED More News Videos

Children sworn in as American citizens on July 4th. Watch the report from Action News at 4 p.m. on July 4, 2017.

Portions of the Declaration of Independence were read by the Philadelphia R & B group Boys II Men.

Mayor Jim Kenney introduced the winner of the city's Magis Award, Ralph Galati.

A Vietnam War veteran, Galati spent 14 months as a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison.

EMBED More News Videos

Watch the report from Jeff Chirico on Action News at 6 p.m. on July 4, 2017.

He now is associated with St. Joseph's University's veterans' center.

His remarks this July Fourth started by discussing what occurred in Philadelphia nearly 300 years ago.

The festivities on Independence Mall wrapped up before noon.

The July Fourth Parade stepped off at noon along Market Street.

Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps
Related Topics:
societyphiladelphiaphiladelphia newsjuly fourthCenter City Philadelphia
(Copyright ©2018 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.)