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By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For the eleventh time, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops played the night away on the eve of Independence Day.

Hundreds gathered on a warm but comfortable night on Independence Mall for the free show. Many brought lawn chairs or were sitting on blankets having a picnic.

“We’ve got some Mediterranean salad, all kinds of fresh sandwiches and some great cookies for dessert,” said one woman, who was hosting family members from Germany.

There were many families who brought young children with them, wanting to give them a chance to enjoy The Pops under the stars. “To hear the music outside is really great, and it’s a good experience for kids who might not always get a chance to get inside an orchestra,” explained Jennifer, who brought her two young daughters.

The Pops, who performing songs like Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” and the Rocky theme song, dazzled the crowd, some spending their first Independence Day in Philadelphia.

“Two-hundred-thirty-six years of freedom here in the United States, and right here where it happened!” said Cindy, from North Carolina, who was visiting her husband’s family. “It’s awesome!”

There were also those spending their first Independence Day in America. “A little touch of home,” said Bernice, who moved from St. Lucia to South Jersey. “Everybody is on the grass and just chilling.”

In the past year, she and her daughter made the move to the U.S., and on this day, spent her time sightseeing. For her to be picnicking in front of Independence Hall, the night before the nation’s birthday, was history coming to life.

“Right in front of me, I didn’t even know what that [Independence Hall] was!” she exclaimed. “You read about history and everything, but being so close is just amazing!”

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