New Year's Eve 2010 glasses, red, white, and blue Wawa Welcome America hats, and colonial clothing were all part of the public’s attire at Wawa Welcome America's Dietz & Watson Hot Dog Day at Independence Mall.
A swarm of people mingled with 18th Century citizens Friday afternoon outside the Independence Visitor Center while others waited in line for a free hotdog.
As Dietz & Watson fed the crowds, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, fife drummers and other Colonial impersonators welcomed the public - both on the lawn and on a stage where the actors spoke of the Constitution.
Steve Riley, Dietz & Watson marketing director, said he expected the hot dog feast to be "twice as packed" by afternoon. The hot dog giveaway allowed Dietz & Watson to give thanks to Philadelphia, which has been the company's best customer for 70 years, Riley said.
"It's a beautiful town, beautiful city, but you have to explain to me, what is Wawa?" asked Neal Manly, 43, a Washington state resident on vacation who waited in line for hot dogs with his family.
Manly explained the state of Washington does not have Wawa stores.
Locals expressed their love for the city's festivities and the importance of "the remembrance of what this country was founded on, the recognition of what we stood for and what we stand for," John Nye, 28, said.
Sly Fisher, 53, a military veteran and Philadelphia resident, said he "enjoys the fact that we celebrate America's birth 234 years ago... I love barbeques, good old fashioned cookouts and a good hot dog now and then."
Painting alongside children and parents beside the Mural Arts Program tent, artist Eric Okdeh said the celebration was a chance to "get to have a lot of people have their hands in your work."
When finished, the large mural that Okdeh and the public painted will be mounted onto a wall at the courtyard in City Hall in the beginning of September.