On RV tour, Shapiro talks up America’s 250th celebration



(The Center Square) — On the heels of a tourism rebranding for Pennsylvania, Gov. Josh Shapiro came to Philadelphia on Tuesday to celebrate dozens of planned events for the semiquincentennial, the 250th anniversary of America’s founding.

Standing in front of the Benjamin Franklin memorial at the Franklin Institute, the governor spoke of how the coming events will show millions of visitors why Philadelphia is the greatest place in the world.

“This is a chance to celebrate Philadelphia and to celebrate the inclusive society we have strived to build,” Shapiro said. “The Shapiro-Davis administration stands with you, ready to show off this city to the world. In 2026, the eyes of the nation will be on us.”

The governor is in the midst of a weeklong RV trip with his family to promote the state as the Great American Getaway, aiming to boost tourism development — and revenue. His administration has looked to do the same for outdoor recreation.

The planned celebrations start in July 2024 and will run through 2026.

Visit Philadelphia, the city’s tourism marketing agency, announced a partnership with TED to host a series of fireside chats on the future of democracy to start in July and run through November of 2024. Those will be followed by a speaker series throughout 2025 and a flagship event in February 2026.

Other events will include museum and history exhibits, a 4th of July celebration, the FIFA World Cup, the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, and the 2026 MLB All-Star Game.

Angela Val, Visit Philadelphia president and CEO, highlighted historical, cultural, industrial, artistic, fashion, and other events meant to encompass the full city and treat the 250th celebration as a “catalyst” to improve the city before a one-off event.

“This is a celebration that is more than a decade in the making and it really demonstrates why Philadelphia should serve as the epicenter of the marking of this moment in history,” Val said.

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