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    Wawa Returns as Sponsor of Fourth of July Festival

    Philadelphia's 'Wawa Welcome America!' event will be expanded this year.

    PHILADELPHIA -- Tradition calls for backyard barbecues and watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. And for the past few years, the tradition in Philadelphia also calls for the Wawa Welcome America! Festival.

    For the fourth year, Wawa Inc. will be the title sponsor of the weeklong celebration marking the summer holiday. This year's festival will run July 1 through July 7. The schedule of events has been rearranged and expanded this year because the holiday falls on a Thursday, according to a report by Philebrity.com.

    The 2013 festival will feature several events spread over the seven days, including Philly @ the Movies; Go 4th and Learn; Taste of Philadelphia; Party on the Parkway; the Philly 4th of July Jam; and two firework displays, according to the event's Facebook page.

    "We are thrilled to kick off another year as Wawa Welcome America!'s title sponsor," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s president and CEO. "It's an excellent time to celebrate our nation's independence. All of us at Wawa are proud to celebrate great Philadelphia traditions, and we're also excited to have the opportunity to weave in our own traditions and free family fun throughout the festival. During the festival, we will showcase our strongest traditions including our signature event Wawa Hoagie Day; Go 4th & Learn, which highlights Wawa's unique dairy history; our Smoothie Shack and more."

    Last year's event featured musical band The Roots as the Philly 4th of July Jam house band, with Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson serving as musical director. A star-filled lineup joined The Roots, including hip-hop star and actress Queen Latifah; Philadelphia-area native Daryl Hall; hip-hop artist, actor and poet Common; and pop singer Joe Jonas.

    Wawa, which is based in the Philadelphia area, owns and operates more than 600 convenience stores, including 300 gas stores, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

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