By Jill Beckel
Let’s party like it’s 2026!
Even though it seems like a long time from now, America’s 250th anniversary is fast approaching in 2026. On Thursday, April 30th, guests gathered for Toast250 at the Independence Visitor Center with USA250‘s Board of Directors, Founders Circle, and Gen250 committee to celebrate Philadelphia’s plans for America’s 250th anniversary, our biggest party yet.
USA250 is designing a robust tourism initiative for the nation’s 250th anniversary and enlisting a broad range of leaders to join our planning team. They are organizing ideas and leaders based around America’s founding values: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The goal is for Philadelphians, Americans and people all across the world to come together and celebrate our nation’s most defining moment when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The event opened with a selection of tasty hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Guests mingled inside and on the beautiful patio while enjoying Philadelphia Freedom cocktails made from vodka, Blue Curaco and grenadine (a patriotic red, white and blue!). Live entertainment kept the party going with CAPA Foundation students Aijee Evans and Rickey Turner and DJ Blizzy Most.
Guests were encouraged to share their ideas for Philly’s biggest party on post-it notes scattered around tables around the room. Ideas ranged from small decoration ideas to large scale ideas such as a French National showcase complete with an Eiffel Tower replica. Ben Franklin (impersonated by Ward Larkin) greeted and laughed with guests, sharing his unique ideas for Philly’s big party as well.
The executive director of USA250, Jon Herrmann, spoke about their plans and long-term goals for the celebration. A video showed more ideas about how to get all of America and the rest of the world involved and encourage tourism to Philadelphia for the big event. David Montgomery, Chairman of the Philadelphia Phillies, spoke about how he wants us to be the best version of Americans that we can be by helping those less fortunate right in our own city. Kathleen McGinty, Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Wolf, shared her love of Philly and wants the 2026 party to be a turning point for Philly and a chance to show the rest of the U.S. that Pennsylvania is the best state to host this big event. She encouraged guests to help make Philly the most attractive city that we can by showing that democracy is still alive here and added that, “Anyone who is willing to work hard does well here…any person who is willing to throw their heart and soul into their dream will do well in Philly.”
In 2026 and every day, let’s make everyone see why Philadelphia is the true “City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”