Wawa Inc. has signed on to be the title sponsor for Welcome America!, a multi-day festival that celebrates America’s birthday.
The partnership will help continue a tradition of nearly two decades of excellence and build on the success of last year’s festival. Mayor Michael Nutter and Wawa officials made the announcement about the sponsorship at a new Wawa store under construction in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.
“The City of Philadelphia, Welcome America!, and Wawa look forward to hosting all of the great July Fourth festivities in Philadelphia this summer,” said Mayor Nutter, the festival’s Chairman. “Through the generous support of Wawa, an established company in our area, we can strengthen our commitment to what is widely regarded as the finest July Fourth festival anywhere in the entire country. And what better place than in our city?”
“We are thrilled to be the title sponsor of this important regional celebration at a time when the eyes of the nation are on the great city of Philadelphia,” said Howard Stoeckel, president and CEO of Wawa, which is based in Wawa, Pa.,
and operates more than 570 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. “For Wawa, this collaboration is extremely fitting and meaningful, as we have roots that travel deep both within the City of Philadelphia and within the Welcome America festivities. We are proud to call Philadelphia our hometown and our associates are excited to help present a series of free events to the community that add fun, patriotism and hometown pride to our region.”
Melanie Johnson, city representative and Welcome America executive director, said the goal was to establish a winning partnership by aligning the Welcome America! brand with an established business that is both family-oriented and dedicated to the community. “We are proud that Welcome America events have always been free to the public and designed for the enjoyment of the entire family,” Johnson said. “And now, starting in 2010, through our new sponsorship agreement with Wawa, a well known local company, we can proudly maintain our commitment to the public by offering quality activities and entertainment at no cost.”
Wawa, a premier regional convenience retailer, is no stranger to teaming up with Welcome America! Wawa was one of the participants of the inaugural Welcome America event, featuring its popular Hoagie Day, which continued to be a Philadelphia tradition for 10 years. During Hoagie Day, Wawa built hoagies in excess of two miles, even surrounding City Hall.
The City of Philadelphia and Wawa have a longstanding relationship through community projects like Operation Brotherly Love in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Community Services. In January, Mayor Nutter joined more than 300 dedicated volunteers and deserving families for the inaugural Operation Brotherly Love event at Philadelphia Naval Yard, a carnival for kids supporting Philadelphia-area families in need, and providing 500 children with personalized holiday gifts.
The Welcome America! festival is just one more example of Wawa’s community outreach efforts. The festival attracts thousands of visitors to Philadelphia annually to celebrate the Fourth of July. Through Welcome America!, the City takes center stage each year, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors to historical, cultural, and family entertainment programming, and hosts the largest free concert in America featuring premier musical headliners.