Wawa Hoagie Day is back, as part of its sixth year as title sponsor of Wawa Welcome America!.
This year, in addition to the customary patriotism, the event included special appearances by Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine of the Food Network and Restaurant Impossible, along with a performance by hometown heroes from The Voice’s, Matthew Schuler and Audra McLaughlin. Since its inception in 1992, when the hoagie was proclaimed the “Official Sandwich of Philadelphia” by Mayor Ed Rendell, Wawa has hosted 23 annual Hoagie Day’s.
As always, Hoagie Day focused on honoring our troops and expanding on Wawa’s partnership with USO, a nonprofit organization that supports the nation’s military community.
On Thursday, July 2, 2015, at the Independence Visitor Center Lawn on Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets, Hoagie Day began. As a highlight of the event, Hoagie Day featured the Five Ton Hoagie Salute to our Troops, named after the continuing focus of Hoagie Day–honoring our soldiers and hometown heroes, as well as Wawa’s long-standing partnership with the USO.
During the salute, the five ton Italian hoagie (comprised of more than 20,000 shorti hoagies)—which was built the morning of the celebration at the nearby National Constitution Center—was marched in by Wawa associates and re-enactors from military moments throughout history, and served to the crowd, free of charge.
Other event highlights included:
- Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine addressing the troops and thanking them for their service
- Letter Writing Station where guests are encouraged to write and sign letters to send to our troops in Wawa care packages that will be sent during the holiday season.
- Hoagies for Heroes Doubleheader emceed by Robert Irvine and WMMR’s Steve Morrison: Philadelphia Police Officers and Firefighters battled it out in a hoagie building competition to benefit charities of their choice. The PA National Air and Army Guard then went head-to-head in a charitable hoagie building competition to benefit the USO. Wawa will make a contribution of $3,000 to the charities of all teams.
- Announcement of USO Campaign: Wawa President and CEO, Chris Gheysens, announced the goal of $700,000 for the Wawa Foundation’s annual USO campaign, which kicked off in ALL Wawa stores June 29, 2015.
- Mayor Nutter proclaimed it to be Hoagie Day, and encouraged everyone to show the troops how much they care by supporting our local and national Heroes by participating in the campaign.
“Hoagie Day is a wonderful chance to reflect on one of the most important events of our past and present, as it represents our commitment to fulfilling lives every day, for our community and our customers, and also gives us a chance to highlight the men and women who protect the freedoms we are all celebrating,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president & CEO. “Each year Hoagie Day gets bigger, more delicious, and more patriotic, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue the tradition of to supporting troops and local heroes—our police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders– in greater ways than ever before, through The Wawa Foundation and our Wawa Veterans Alliance. With the participation of Chef Robert Irvine and our other exciting guests, we hope our heroes feel extra special, on this very special, annual Wawa event.”
At the conclusion of the event, guests were treated to a free performance by hometown heroes from The Voice: Matthew Schuler and Audra McLaughlin. Throughout the day the crowd was encouraged to step inside the National Constitution Center as admission was free, courtesy of Wawa, throughout Hoagie Day. The morning of Hoagie Day, the first 5,000 hoagies built were given to Philabundance to distribute to their community pantries and kitchens throughout the Delaware Valley.