It's hoagie day in Philadelphia

June 27, 2012 2:32:03 PM PDT
The Welcome America festivities kicked off in a yummy way Wednesday on Independence Mall. It was Wawa Hoagie Day, a Philadelphia tradition for the start of the 4th of July festivities.

Independence Mall was filled with people filling their bellies with free sandwiches piled high with turkey, cheese, and tomatoes. Wawa celebrated the sandwich by giving away thousands of free Italian shorti's.

The focus of this year's hoagie day is to honor soldiers and hometown heroes and 200 Wawa associates were up early to make sure all went to plan.

They spent hours assembling a massive 4.5 ton hoagie at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia; more than 8,500 pounds of ingredients went into the giant sub.

"Everyone loves a Wawa hoagie and everybody loves to get something when they're not expecting it, so this is just the best way to give back," said Tracy Pappa Spencer.

The folks making the sandwiches made the work look like a whole lot of play.

Chris Gheysens, Wawa President said, "It's lots of energy... The excitement, It's really who we are...Wawa is about giving back to the community and it gets everyone really excited."

The hoagie-pokey was in full swing. Wally Goose and Shorti hoagie mascots were in the house supervising merry-making and the sub making. Spirits were high and so was productivity.

After being scrubbed in, Wawa Associate Jason Sofronksi guided me through the piles of cheese, meat, lettuce, and don't forget the tomato stacked up, and packed away.

"You're going to take your oil just put a little bit in here," Jason demonstrated.

The first 5,000 hoagies were donated to Philabundance. They were distributed to community shelters and were sure to be a highlight.

""Kids are out of school and so families are having even a harder time without the school lunch program, without school breakfast, the cost of feeding your own kids has really gone up. To be given a hoagie is like going out to a restaurant, not only is it going to be good food, but a shot in the arm," said Bill Clark, President and Executive Director of Philabundance.

The crowds were out, the hoagies were a hit, and some folks are even hoping to mark their calendars for next year.

For more information visit the Wawa Welcome America website.