By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is, once again, going all out to make sure the birthplace of the nation has its best birthday celebration.
This year’s celebration includes a number of significant anniversaries, which will be marked in the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony on the steps of Independence Hall, beginning at 10 a.m.
Music and speeches will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the LGBT rights movement and the Voting Rights Act, and the 150th anniversary of the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States.
That will be followed by the Independence Day Parade through Old City which steps off at 11 a.m. from Independence Hall. More than six-thousand people will participate, including Miss America, who will join the marching bands, military organizations and performance team on the 1.2 mile march through Old City to Front and Chestnut Streets.
Visitors to the historic area can stop by the Independence Visitor Center to watch construction of the nation’s birthday cake, a five tier wonder with 2,500 cupcakes in the shape of an American flag by Termini Brothers. When it’s complete, Betsy Ross will lead the singing of “Happy Birthday,” after which the cupcakes will be given away.
In the afternoon, the Party on the Parkway gets rolling with a full roster of musical acts, food trucks and activities, such as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s “Road to Rio” exhibit, where you can test your skills at virtual games and meet elite athletes.
The grand finale concert, with the Roots, gets started at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks, expected around 10:30 p.m. over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
NOTE: Anyone who is driving into the city can park for free along the streets. The Philadelphia Parking Authority will not be enforcing meters today.