By Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s the time of year where the colors of our nation not only wave from above, but move through the streets.

A big birthday party if you will, for this country in the city where it was born 240 years ago.

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Jeff Guaracino – Wawa welcome America
“We have 350 performers alone and probably another 500 people who are working in various ways on the festival.” said Jeff Gauracino of Wawa Welcome America. The week-long celebration kicked off on Monday, with free events throughout the city.

On Independence Mall, organizers assembled what will be Thursday’s Wawa free hoagie day, plus a holiday block party.

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As for the fireworks, the bulk of them are currently being loaded onto a barge on the Delaware River. “You can catch fireworks on Delaware River waterfront on Friday, or Saturday, or come here to the parkway for giant fireworks on July 4,” Guaracino explained.

Visitors from across the country are wearing their red, white and blue, Monday’s best, in honor of the holiday.

Organizers say that this year, crowds will be expected to be twice that of a year ago, with the firework celebration being the largest since 2011.

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Alexandria Hoff