Wawa Welcome America festival kicks off with Hoagie Day

PHILADELPHIA - July 2, 2013

Thousands of people lined up for one thing Tuesday: a free hoagie.

"You get to have fun, and you get to eat, and it's really nice even though it's raining," said Janae Perez of Marlton, N.J.

Wawa Welcome America kicked off the week's festivities with Wawa Hoagie Day.

15,000 hoagies, about 4 and a half tons worth, were assembled Tuesday morning. 5,000 went to Philabundance to feed those in need.

The other 10,000 went to a massive crowd gathered for the festivities.

Hoagie Day was just the start. There are many more activities planned as part of the nation's birthday celebration.

The stage crews are pretty much done setting up on the Parkway for the 4th of July Jam and Fireworks. Lighting crews were on the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps putting in the lights for the show.

It's the largest free concert in America, featuring music for everyone.

The Roots with special guests John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Jill Scott, Ne-Yo, Grace Potter, J Cole and Ben Taylor will all take this stage later this week.

It's birthday fun, but also a moment to pause and remember those who've made freedom possible.

"What better way to celebrate?" said Wawa president Chris Gheysens. "Giving back to the heroes that they are, the troops."

For those in from out of town, the history here in Philadelphia is more than enough.

"Just amazing to see all the stuff," said Jeff Selter of Michigan.

"It makes me appreciate America more," said Ronda Selter.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.