On Saturday, the typical sub shop will have nothing on Bethel Park High School students when it comes to putting together hoagies.
Members of the school's marching band, orchestra and Top 21 choir -- and their parents -- will gather before 6 a.m. to assemble sandwiches. Eventually, more than 13,000 will be ready to eat.
The hoagie sales have been a staple of the Bethel Park community for more than four decades. Five Saturdays a year, students knuckle down to make sandwiches as their main fundraising activity.
Saturday is the final sale for this school year. It is being held less than two weeks before the students travel to Chicago for their annual spring trip, with hoagies footing the bill.
The musicians and vocalists will participate in competitions, and the students are looking forward to repeating past successes.
"We've gotten superior and excellent ratings consistently, not only the years I've been in the marching band, but for a long time," said senior Stephanie Carter, 17, the band's student director.
Last year in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for example, Bethel Park earned seven first-place awards in the concert ensemble category and four in marching band. Special awards were presented for best choir ensemble, best symphonic/concert band and best accompanist to pianist Mary Hannah Swaney, now a junior.
The Chicago trip will feature another benefit of the proceeds raised by the hoagie sales.
"We also got new uniforms," Stephanie said. "I think the kids are really excited to wear those. They're a lot sleeker than the old ones."
As student director, she takes a prominent role in helping to ensure preparation and execution for marching band events, most prominently Black Hawks football games. She has been playing flute and piccolo since fourth grade and will attend Duquesne University to study music education.
But on Saturday, music will take a back seat to sandwiches.
Each student has a quota to sell 70 hoagies.
Some of the sandwiches will be taken to missions in Pittsburgh.
Prep work starts Friday night so that everything is ready to roll at an accelerated pace the next morning.
"They're all handmade ... and delivered the same day," said Michael Beck, head of the band's publicity committee. The community is very supportive of the sale, he said.
The hoagies, on 12-inch buns, are $5 each.
To order: 412-854-8179. For information: www.bphsbands.com/hoagiesales.php.neigh_south
Harry Funk, freelance writer: email@example.com.