Wawa Celebrates 5th Year as Title Sponsor of Wawa Welcome America!

Honoring 50 returning heroes on Hoagie Day, July 2

Wawa Hoagie Day (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

PHILADELPHIA -- Wawa Inc. has announced plans for seven days of signature events and activities for its fifth year as title sponsor of the Philadelphia region's biggest Independence Day celebration, Wawa Welcome America!.

Wawa's signature Hoagie Day celebration on July 2, in honor of Wawa's 50th anniversary, will include 50 returning heroes, a five-ton hoagie and more.

"This has been a jam-packed year for all of us at Wawa and on the heels of our 50th anniversary in retail, we're thrilled to be celebrating our fifth year as title sponsor of Wawa Welcome America! with the most patriotic and exciting festival to date," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO. "This year's hoagie day will be particularly meaningful as we will be honoring returning military heroes and truly celebrating what July 4th is truly all about. Our Welcome America sponsorship is a perfect way to round out this milestone year, and we are honored to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of hoagies and happiness!"

Events began June 28 and run through July 4. Philadelphians will be treated to Wawa Welcome America! free family fun, including concerts, fireworks shows, Wawa Hoagie Day, Go Forth & Learn about Science, Taste of Liberty Block Party, Philly @ the Movies and more. Wawa representatives will be present at all Welcome America! events, encouraging the crowd to sample Wawa teas, smoothies and special products the convenience store chain is featuring at different events.

Wawa will distribute more than 50,000 beverages throughout the festival including Wawa iced tea, Wawa lemonade tea and Wawa raspberry lemonade, among others; and more than 50,000 Wawa Welcome America! painter's caps throughout the festival, in addition to giving other Wawa products, hoagies, and smoothie samples at various events.

For Wawa Hoagie Day, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will join Wawa associates and hoagie fans. During the morning of Hoagie Day, Wawa associates will build more than 17,000 hoagies using five tons of ingredients to be served to the crowd later that day. This hoagie will be assembled at the National Constitution Center and marched into the Hoagie Day celebration by Wawa associates, National Guard members and Revolutionary War Re-enactors.

Wawa will honor 50 returning military heroes and dedicate the day to them, making a check presentation to the USO. The event will also include a Hoagies for Heroes hoagie building contest between local heroes--fire and police; and the Air Guard and the Army Guard. After a three-minute hoagie building contest--a donation will be made to their respective charities.

Each year, the highlight of Wawa Welcome America! is the July 4th Independence Day Parade, the Party on the Parkway, and the largest free concert in America. More than 100 Wawa Associates will march in the July 4th parade.

Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa., owns and operates 635 convenience stores (more than 365 offering gasoline), in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers