July 4th Philly photos: Protests, patriots and a popping block party

Even before the fireworks and concert, there was plenty of Independence Day action in America’s birthplace.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Updated July 5

In the birthplace of America, the Fourth of July is never boring. Before the main Welcome America concert even kicked off on the Ben Franklin Parkway, Independence Day 2019 in Philly brought orchestrated marches, carefree celebrations, aerial acrobatics and activist rallies that included planned civil disobedience.

Thirty-three protesters were detained by police after they formed a human chain to block the Salute to America parade from reaching Independence Mall.

Protesters found a way around the police barricade and blocked the parade

Protesters found a way around the police barricade and blocked the parade

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Cited for “obstructing a highway,” according to the Inquirer, the protesters were with around 300 other people as part of the Never Again Action, organized nationally by Jewish leaders in response to the U.S. government’s treatment of immigrants and refugees.

“We learned during the Holocaust how critical it was to building solidarity with other communities,” said Tenara Calem, a Jewish American who lives in Philadelphia, in an emailed statement.

The group gathered at the ICE office around 10 a.m. with other activist allies in the call for the Trump administration to close the border camps. They then marched to the Historic District to intersect with the official parade.

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Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Though there were no tanks like in Washington D.C., the Philly parade did feature some U.S. military and veterans.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

It also featured a 190-foot-long “Canvas of America” comprising flags from 195 different nations, as well as floats from various other groups, like the Filipino-American Society of America, and a band representing Trinidad & Tobago.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

Plenty of familiar and unorthodox characters also participated, from Ben Franklin to Star Wars cosplayers to drumline queens.

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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

After the parade, attention shifted to the annual Party on the Parkway, which featured zip lines, dance troupes and stilt walkers.

The Muten family celebrated in matching shirts from Walmart

The Muten family celebrated in matching shirts from Walmart

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Wawa employees had special balloon hats

Wawa employees had special balloon hats

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

For the first time this year, Welcome America organizers fenced in the whole festival with a loose row of bike racks.

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Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Marcia Gray stays cool sitting in the shade at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Marcia Gray stays cool sitting in the shade at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

The semi-formal enclosure pulled off a pretty neat trick. It kept the block party’s accessible vibe — the entrance checkpoints were rarely, if ever, enforced — while allowing people to roam freely even after they’d picked up a drink at one of the bar tents. (Pa. liquor licenses require a defined service area for alcohol.)

Dan Zucker and his son Jake had their photo taken with Uncle Sam

Dan Zucker and his son Jake had their photo taken with Uncle Sam

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Members of the Three Aksha performed

Members of the Three Aksha performed

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
The Philly Surfers played beats

The Philly Surfers played beats

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Entertainment also came in the form of facepainting, carnival games,  ziplining and photo booths.

Makayla Caldwell, 6, was transformed into Spide-Man

Makayla Caldwell, 6, was transformed into Spide-Man

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Makayla Caldwell in Spidey facepaint

Makayla Caldwell in Spidey facepaint

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Marguerite at the Balloon Lagoon yells for everyone to “come and get your teddy bear!”

Marguerite at the Balloon Lagoon yells for everyone to “come and get your teddy bear!”

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Mobile Zip Line and Ultimate Bungee offered festival goers a thrill

Mobile Zip Line and Ultimate Bungee offered festival goers a thrill

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Idriss Kargbo and his wife Kannie have an instant photo taken at the Instax booth at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Idriss Kargbo and his wife Kannie have an instant photo taken at the Instax booth at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Several dozen food trucks and stands lined the boulevard, offering everything from cheesesteaks and funnel cake to arepas, jerk BBQ and gelato.

The Jamaican food stand was popular

The Jamaican food stand was popular

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
The line for Tillamook ice cream was the longest of the whole festival

The line for Tillamook ice cream was the longest of the whole festival

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Pie Guy Keith Grooms Jr. offers up a chair curry chicken pie

Pie Guy Keith Grooms Jr. offers up a chair curry chicken pie

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
Arepas, or corn patties, cook on the grill at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Arepas, or corn patties, cook on the grill at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
A mediocre-sized bucket of Crabfries went for a whopping $12

A mediocre-sized bucket of Crabfries went for a whopping $12

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Attendees kept cool with misting fans, makeshift sprinklers, and beneath Wawa Welcome America caps.

Patrick O’Neill, 3, keeps cool running through the sprinkler

Patrick O’Neill, 3, keeps cool running through the sprinkler

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
A makeshift sprinkler kept festival-goers cool

A makeshift sprinkler kept festival-goers cool

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
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Michael Reeves / Billy Penn

By 2:30 p.m., trash cans overflowed and spirits were high as many made their way towards the big stage for the 7 p.m. concert.

Trash cans began to overflow around 2:30 at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY
The Chill Moody stage behind the Art Museum featured local artists throughout the day

The Chill Moody stage behind the Art Museum featured local artists throughout the day

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Members of Havertown’s Power Surge Performing Arts Center perform at the Party on the Parkway on July Fourth in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Members of Havertown’s Power Surge Performing Arts Center performed near the Art Museum

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

 

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