Think You’ve Had Enough Fireworks? This is ‘Merica

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!”


3 responses to “Think You’ve Had Enough Fireworks? This is ‘Merica

  1. I sat on the corner of 1st and Sullivan……with Gary, Sarah, Betsy and some other folks. Took my trusty portable lawn chair complete with drink holder for my famous summertime vodka slush. It was a perfect night……warm yet cool…..maybe a few too may misquitoes. Afterwards several of us sang God Bless America……..kind of a nice, hometown, comfortable evening.

    • Lanna,
      That sounds wonderful; I want to come home for a visit based on your comment. On the third I was longing for the slanting porch of the Cashing’s old cottage. One of those fruit pizzas with the cream cheese and glaze, maybe a piece of flag cake. A pontoon ride. Rocking on the swing, batting away the spiders. Watching the gathering on the hillside across the way. Remember when they sent up balloons of what looked to be lighted trash bags? And all the wonderful company the third of July always provides. Miss and love you.

  2. So are you coming home at all this summer? THe slush is waiting~
    I spent the weekend over at Chautauqua with the Larsons. We played on their new motorboat…..and sailed on Lake Erie….nice and realxing, albeit hot.
    Working a lot at the shop….but snuck away today for a lunch time concert in Oak Hill Park…..
    Just bought an I Phone 4… trying to learn all it can do….I’m overwhlemed!
    Miss and love you too!

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