Last night, I attended the “Wawa Welcomes America Super Happy Fun Roots Boom Blowout.” Also known as the fireworks display along the Ben Franklin Parkway. The show that preceded the fireworks was curated by Philly ambassador, twitter king, and drummer of the legendary Roots band, ?uestlove. The Roots played a set, then some people whose songs I barely recognized, and my Fourthfest buddy and I retreated to Lemon Hill to find a spot to watch the fireworks before Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers fame took the stage. Still, I managed to recite the line about “Yamo Be There” from an Apatovian film of some fame a while back. Prior to the fireworks, there was much discussion of George R.R. Martin’s upcoming release and, in the walk to the station after, talk of French New Wave films and Ayn Rand’s objectivism.
Let’s see those fireworks!
The Roots took the stage playing a slightly more family friendly version of “Seed 2.0” and the song I can only identify as the opening credits from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in which The Roots play houseband. The Philly Museum of Art provided a backdrop to the festivities.
The crowd amassed along the Parkway, a grand boulevard of the Champs Élysées tradition cutting a clear swath from City Hall to the Art Museum. The Parkway was added in the early 1900s as part of the City Beautiful Movement following Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition.
The sun sets over the Ben Franklin Parkway.
City Hall transformed in the warm, waning light of a sunset.
Anticipation for the fireworks display crescendoed. A man called out to the crowd, informing us that we were in prime position for viewing the fireworks and that in the 32 years he’d come to Lemon Hill, he’d never seen a crowd so large. The hillside sat us all very comfortably.
The first “oohs” and “aahs.”
Low pyrotechnics outline the Art Museum while high above fireworks dazzle.
A firework breaks showering the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art in golden sparks. A man seated behind us provided a thoroughly entertaining running commentary on the display and his patriotism, on par to the “Double Rainbow” guy. As the man behind me kept screeching out, “God Bless ‘Merica!”