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7-ton Hoagie Kicks Off 4th of July in Philly

Check out our guide to the week's Fourth of July events, including more than 40 fireworks shows in Philadelphia, the suburbs, South Jersey and Delaware.

Sand sculpture at the Shops at Liberty Place, part of the Welcome America festivities in Philadelphia.

Ben Lowenthal

On Thursday, Wawa kicked off Welcome America week the best way it knows how — with a 7-ton hoagie.

Crafted in the basement of the National Constitution Center by more than 100 Wawa employees, the sandwich took six hours to build. It was distributed to veterans organizations, community shelters via Philabundance and anybody who headed down to Independence Mall at noon for the 7-ton hoagie salute that marked the start of the region's July Fourth activities.

The festivities Thursday included a performance by the USO Show Troupe on Independence Mall, a 40-ton sand sculpture at the Shops at Liberty Place and free admission to the National Constitution Center.

Wawa Welcome America will run through the week leading up to the Fourth of July on Wednesday with more than 50 free events. There are free-admission days at museums across the city, family-movie nights, concerts at Independence Mall and along the Waterfront and much more.

All of this will be capped off on Independence Day with a party on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway that includes a concert with Pitbull and Heather Headley, and, of course, no Fourth of July celebration would be complete without a fireworks show.

With so much happening, it can be hard to keep up with it all, so use our guide to all the events, not only in the city but throughout the suburbs, South Jersey and Delaware, including more than 40 fireworks shows.

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