Go Deeper

The Fourth Of July! A Roundup Of Its Quirkier Parts 2012

Posted June 27th, 2012

Next week’s celebration of our nation’s independence from the yoke of British accents brings with it some strange happenings; sometimes history makes people act a little funny. Of course, there’s plenty of run-of-the-mill family fun, so be sure to wash down all the weird stuff with a good ‘ole pint of fireworks.

The week is underway, as is Philadelphia’s Welcome America!. Sponsored by everyone’s favorite Wawa.  A week and a half of food, entertainment and activities—including three fireworks shows—the celebration culminates in a Fourth of July concert on those steps that Rocky ran up.

If you prefer to go against the tide, check out these off-kilter (as deemed by us) events at Welcome America!

Philadelphia’s notorious counterculture performers the Mummers begin the Independence Day weird-fest, with an informational talk at The Mummers Museum on June 28. It would be so weird to see Mummers sober.

Fancy a photography exhibit combined with a sense of urgency and a fear of imminent physical violation? Go to Terminal A at the Philadelphia International Airport on June 29 to see “Faces of Freedom: The Constitution at 225.” The photo exhibit highlights 47 Americans who have had significant impacts on our constitution. All you’ll need is a plane ticket to enjoy.

If you’ve got a sugar tooth, or a mouth full of them, attend the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival on June 30 and July 1, starting at noon both days. The cost is $7, but the price is a sugar rush sure to last through the evening. And if they run out of ice cream, get ornery! It’s the American thing to do.

Just like Philadelphia had a hand in the formation of America, you too can participate by joining the Gospel Sunday Mass Choir. Open to anyone who can— despite being horribly tone-deaf, I’m not deterred—and loves to sing.  The choir is open to people of all denominations, and will perform on July 1.

Didn’t get your fill of choir music on Sunday? Craving something more Scandinavian to kick-off a celebration of American independence? The Crossing, a professional choir based in Philadelphia, will join the children of the Norwegian Girls choir, in a performance Christ Church on July 3. Because the Swedes were here before William Penn! (W. Penn “bought” Philadelphia from the Svensen brothers.

That wraps the stranger side of the city’s Welcome America! festival, all pre-Fourth of July. If you’re too busy to get out before the big day, travel out to Fonthill Castle in Doylestown to experience a Fourth of July your grandparents, great-grandparents, and maybe even your great-great-grandparents might remember: an early 20th century, ye olde Fourth. Enjoy a decorated bicycle parade, a game of 19th-century baseball (when the price of a concession, and a ball-player, were low), and a watermelon-eating contest.

–Audrey McGlinchy