Holiday weekend celebrations kick off at Penn's Landing

PENN'S LANDING (WPVI) -- The rain held off in Philadelphia Friday night, allowing the fireworks to go off without a hitch at Penn's Landing.

The pyrotechnics lit up the sky while the Ben Franklin Bridge showed off its patriotic colors.

It was a spectacular kickoff to the July Fourth weekend in the nation's birthplace.

The Philadelphia Orchestra started the night with a concert featuring Bobby Hill, the 15 year old Keystone State Boychoir soloist who gained fame after his impromptu performance before Pope Francis last fall.

Among those in the audience were Tim Barnes and his son, who came from Colorado to spend the holiday with friends.

"It's a magical feeling being here," said Barnes. "This is where it all happened. It's good to be here."

Over at the Blue Cross RiverRink, a slight breeze helped break the humidity for folks who spent the night taking a spin and a swing.

Throughout the city American flags hung proudly as visitors walked the streets soaking in history, from Betsy Ross's House to Independence Hall.

The DiBellos from Northeast Philadelphia took advantage of their day off to teach their children about what happened here 240 years ago.

Praful Thakkar of Vineland, New Jersey became a U.S. citizen 30 years ago and says spending Independence Day touring these sites reminds him not to take our precious freedoms for granted.

"It gives you so much," said Thakkar. "What this country went through to get independence - people should really be thankful for what we have at this time."

If you missed the fireworks Friday night, you'll have a second chance to see them to Saturday night at Penn's Landing and a third chance over the Art Museum on the Fourth.
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