PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the concert and fireworks on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City Thursday night.

As Philadelphia-born comedian Kevin Hart welcomed America and Philly’s own The Roots and Jill Scott performed, thousands jammed the night away.

For first-timers and regulars, this party on the Parkway was a huge hit.

“Everybody’s in a free spirit, it’s really good, I’m enjoying Philly,” said Ianya Young, of Oakland Calif.

Despite the heat, they came in droves, with many arriving early.  With lots to see and eat, they say this was the place to be and be seen.  All agreed, you can’t beat this backdrop for Fourth of July festivities.

“This festival? It’s amazing,” said Dena Conley, of Seattle, Wash.

Philadelphia, the proud host to the “largest free concert” is always a crowd favorite – and the grand-finale, by all accounts, the best of the best.

“Oh my goodness, it’s like nothing I’ve every seen, it’s like awesome!” said Cindy Chadwick, of Winston-Salem, N.C.