by Justin Udo and Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands spent the day on Independence Mall Sunday enjoying a pre-birthday party for our nation.

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The festivities ended on a high note with a patriotic performance by The Philly Pops.

Organizers said attendance far surpassed their expectations. With an Independence Hall backdrop, Pops on Independence attracted 15,000 listeners.

People from all over the world came out to enjoy the concert.

“It’s amazing. I get to celebrate with everyone else that loves my country,” said one attendee.

“For me to celebrate my Fourth of July here is very spectacular,” said another.

As the patriotic tunes rang out from the stage, they were met with applause, cheers, and tears from the audience.

Many people say coming to the Mall for the Fourth of July holiday is something every American should do at least once.

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“Just to see different people from different walks of life at the place where the nation was founded, that’s an impact. Especially with everything going on today, it’s just beautiful to see that,” said one concert-goer.

Army vet Sam Andrews from Northeast Philadelphia makes the concert a July 4th weekend tradition.

“There’s not enough patriotism in this country today and to see people say, ‘Hey, I’m going to come out and see this and I’m going to enjoy the celebration of our country’s birth,’ I think that’s just terrific,” he said.

Others in the crowd like the Singh family enjoyed the Pops live for the first time.

“It’s definitely good for the kids, it’s definitely a little more intimate than the big concerts that they have and it’s a very quiet and relaxed event, so we’re enjoying it,” said Amardeep Singh. “Philadelphia is a multicultural city. It’s nice to be part of that in a kind of relaxed way.”

The concert capped off a busy day on Independence Mall where an all-day historic block party provided fun for all ages.

“It’s a mix of everything, it’s families it’s friends, it’s foreigners, people from all over the country,” said George Mamalis, owner of Rigatoni’s mobile crab cakes. “I feel like there’s a lot of people from everywhere that are here, and it’s just great to see.”

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The Philly Pops will perform another free concert July 4th at 8:30 p.m. on the Ben Franklin Parkway, as part of Wawa Welcome America. A fireworks show will follow.