July Fourth: Parades, fireworks and history

Posted 7/2/24

Excited about the red, white and blue but still unsure about how you're going to spend July Fourth? Don’t worry. We’ve got you.

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July Fourth: Parades, fireworks and history


Excited about the red, white and blue but still unsure about how you're going to spend the July Fourth holiday? Don’t worry. We’ve got you. Yes, you can fight the traffic and crowds and travel to Center City, or you can relax in Northwest Philadelphia and the nearby suburbs which offer plenty of ways to celebrate the nation’s birthday.  Enjoy traditional parades and fireworks nearby, try a garden scavenger hunt at Morris Arboretum & Gardens, or ride and slide at the Kiwanis carnival in Ambler. 

And there’s more…

Philly Gumbo

If you’re reading this and it’s Wednesday, July 3, (some folks get the newspaper a bit early) then you still have a chance to catch the concert by Philly Gumbo at Pastorius Park. The band that represents the melting pot that is America will perform their eclectic mix of New Orleans R&B, reggae, funk and soul at 7:30 p.m. Pastorius Park Concert Series. Free. Pastorius Park is at 8177 Roanoke St. For info, visit chestnuthill.org. 

Independence Day “For the Kids” Parade

For the 108th year, the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club will host its annual July 4th celebration that transforms part of Chestnut Hill into a patriotic wonderland for the young – and young at heart. A decorated bike and wagon parade will kick off the festivities at 9 a.m. at the corner of Devon Street and Hartwell Lane and proceed to the Water Tower Recreation Center where prizes will be awarded for the best decorations. At the center, enjoy bike races, a magic show and free balloons, hot dogs, candy and ice cream. The event will conclude at 12:30 p.m.

Ambler Carnival

The Kiwanis of Ambler hosts the group’s annual carnival at Wissahickon High School, 6 to 10 p.m., July 2 to 6. Fireworks will light the sky at 9 p.m., July 5, with a rain date of July 6. Wissahickon High School is at 52 Houston Rd., Ambler. For info and ticket pricing, visit k01532.site.kiwanis.org.


Tour the historic home of the Chew family, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., July 4. Bring a picnic and enjoy the grounds, view reader rails, and learn the history of Cliveden in the Carriage House. Free. 6401 Germantown Avenue. For info, visit Cliveden.org.

Firework Flower Scavenger Hunt

Fireworks don’t just dazzle high in the sky. You can find nature’s own fireworks closer to the ground. Come to the Morris Arboretum & Gardens on the Fourth of July and celebrate with a Firework Flower Scavenger Hunt. Using the arboretum’s handy guides, you will identify plants of botanical shapes that look like fireworks. Circle back to the Welcome Center with your field notes and get a cold treat. All day long. 100 East Northwestern Ave., Chestnut Hill. For info, visit morrisarboretum.org.

Youth performances

Celebrate at The Concord School House in Germantown with a bell-ringing ceremony, readings from the Grounded Theatre Company’s Youth Conservatory and musical performances by students at the Settlement Music School. The Concord School House, built in 1775 and expanded in 1818, is an intact 19th-century schoolroom. Free. July 4. The site will open from noon to 4 p.m. for visits and tours. The bell ringing and performances are at 2 p.m. at 6309 Germantown Ave. For info, visit concordschoolhouse.org.

Johnson House

Join a docent led 60-minute guided tour of the Johnson House Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and Underground Railroad station, to learn about the history of the Quaker abolitionist Johnson Family, the anti-enslavement movement, the early history of enslavement in America and the collaborative efforts between Black - free and enslaved - and White abolitionists. July 4. For info, visit johnsonhouse.org.

Patriotic in Glenside

One of the nation’s oldest consecutively run celebrations kicks off at 10 a.m. July 4 with a morning program for children at Renninger Memorial Park, followed later that day, at 4 p.m., by “The Grand, Glorious Patriotic Parade” that will traverse a 1.5 mile stretch through Glenside, including a march down Easton Road.  And then, after the sun sets, watch an aerial fireworks spectacular at Abington Junior and Senior High Schools. The park is at 185 S. Keswick Ave. The schools are at 900 Highland Ave. Events are organized annually by the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association.  For info, visit glensideparade.com.

Whitemarsh Parade and Picnic

Don't miss the celebration during Whitemarsh Township's Annual 4th of July Parade held in conjunction with the Lions Club of Whitemarsh. The holiday parade begins at 10 a.m. from the intersection of Crescent Avenue and Germantown Pike. The parade will march down Germantown Pike and end in Miles Park. After the parade, the celebration turns into a community picnic at the park. For info, visit whitemarshparks.org.