Live music is back as thousands of people gathered at the Mann Center Saturday to watch the Philly Pops perform for the first time with its full orchestra since March 2020.
"Oh my goodness, it feels wonderful," said Laurie Quercetti of Upper Darby, Delaware County. "I just want to hug everybody. It's great to be outside and without a mask."
Family and friends are finally reuniting after a very solitary year.
"I mean, we were alone with my two boys, and it was hard," said Laura Natal of Marple Township. "It was a tough summer. We did the best we could with just getting them outside but a completely different feel this year. I mean, I'm outside without a mask on, so that's pretty awesome."
Dozens of people explored State Street in Media, Delaware County, on Saturday ahead of the region's July 4 celebrations.
"I feel more free. It's a breath of fresh air," said Alex Marchesano of Secane, Pa. "Everyone is back to who we were before the pandemic. You see people smiling. You see people out and living their life."
But some people are still feeling cautious when it comes to holiday gatherings.
"We're going to do some sparklers and fireworks and have a barbecue," said Jason of Media. "I know the regulations, and everything has lifted around COVID, but it's just not super comfortable, so we're doing more of a home-based family thing."
And in South Philadelphia, amid the rain and the puddles, dozens of people lined up to watch the fireworks go off at the LIVE! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia.
"We're having fun, enjoyed the Phillies game, got rained out, and now we want to come see the fireworks," said Frank Delpiano of Newark, Delaware.
After a 45 minute delay, spectators say it was worth the wait.
The big fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps will take place Sunday at 9:30 p.m.