By Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia hosts the largest Fourth of July celebration in the country, and now it will be the longest in event history. An additional week of Welcome America will be celebrated, with an important addition and some changes.

The City of Philadelphia has celebrated Independence Day uninterrupted since 1777. In that time, the festivities have taken different forms — like last year, when it was held virtually.

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July 4, 2021, will once again take on a new shape.

“With a full and complete lineup of safe, responsible in-person programming for our residents to enjoy,” Welcome America, Inc. President Michael DelBene said.

The program will once again include city-wide art, culture and history events, plus live performances.

“Each year, our nation and the world look to Philadelphia as the gold standard in July 4th celebrations and this year promises to be no different,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.

One notable difference is of location.

The Philly Pops, which typically performs on Independence Mall on July 3, and the Fourth of July concert, which has historically been held on the Parkway, will both perform at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

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The events are free, but pre-registration is required.

“This is coming back, but it is necessarily coming back changed and coming back better,” Ivan Henderson, VP of programming at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, said.

The first time the festival will last 16 days, beginning on June 19 — or Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S.

“This is one of those connections that has been hiding in plain sight,” Henderson said.

Through a partnership with the African American Museum in Philadelphia or AAMP, the expanded festival will now include an exploration between the ties that bind Juneteenth and July 4. AAMP will be free for all visitors on June 19.

“We ask everyone to come together with us and celebrate this Welcome America fortnight for freedom and liberty,” Henderson said.

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One event that brings all Philadelphians together – the fireworks spectacular. That will take place here on the Parkway the night of July 4. That evening’s concert will feature Bebe Rexha and Flo Rida.

Alexandria Hoff