Philadelphians are starting to make plans to celebrate America’s 250th birthday in 2026. Nationally, President Trump has appointed University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutman and Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen to serve on the national committee. According to a law passed by the United States Congress, the committee of 16 citizens must meet in Independence Hall to plan the national celebration which may last throughout the year.
Plans are much more advanced for the local celebration of the nation’s milestone birthday. Known as USA250, a group of Philadelphia’s prominent citizens would like to see a celebration promoting unity among people living in the City of Brotherly Love.
Currently, all the major sports represented in Philadelphia are planning some type of celebration. Major League Baseball has announced that they will host the 2026 All-Star game in the city.
Past Birthday Celebrations
The USA250 committee has hired a full-time manager to help plan the activities. He started by researching former United States birthday celebrations the city had hosted. Nearly 10 million people attended the Centennial Exposition in 1876, but 50 years later a celebration ended in ruin. The celebration in 1976 was rocked by racial tensions in the city.
Other plans being discussed include dropping a ball similar to a New Year’s Eve ball drop, hosting the 2026 Super Bowl and building a new subway line in the downtown area.He also wants to see private funders create a state pavilion for each of the 50 states. Another idea being discussed is to provide free wifi throughout the city.
Committee Chairman David Montgomery says that they are setting expectations low in hopes of building excitement as the date nears. He also says that the committee is trying to be extremely careful with public resources.
Nonetheless, USA250`s goal is to attract an additional 10 million visitors to Philadelphia over 18 months surrounding the date. He says that it is a very achievable goal if everyone works closely together.