Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will still take place, but without fans

June 16, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will still take place, but without fans
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A Brooklyn tradition will go on, but a bit differently.

Despite the COVID 19-pandmeic, the Annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest is still coming to Coney Island. However, there will be no fans; it will be labeled as a non-public event, and it won’t take place on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues as in years past.

According to Major League Eating (MLE), the contest will take place on Saturday, July 4 in a private location with COVID-19 safety measures in place. It is one of the first major televised post-COVID competitive events to be held in the U.S..

James Walker, Nathan’s Famous senior vice president of restaurants, discussed the changes.

“We’re ecstatic to make the announcement that the Hot Dog-Eating Contest will take place this year,” he said. “2020 has been a year for the history books, and the realization that this storied July 4th tradition would be able to occur is a great feeling. With that being said, our country and our world has endured so much in the last couple of months that we’d be remiss if we didn’t use this moment to honor those that have done so much for each of us during this time.”

Crowd favorites, including 12-time champion Joey Chestnut and six-time women’s champ Miki Sudo, will compete.

“We owe so much to those that kept our communities fed and cared for during this unprecedented time, and we look forward to honoring them on July 4th,” said Walker.

“The Nathan’s Famous contest is synonymous with July 4th, America and the celebration of freedom,” said contest host George Shea. “We are honored to use the contest to highlight the incredible spirit of those who have supported our city and nation through the current challenge.”

Alliance for Coney Island Executive Director Alexandra Silversmith chimed in.

“While we had hoped Coney Island could once again host Nathan’s historic hot dog eating contest, safety is top priority,” she told this paper in a statement. “We hope many will consider tuning into ESPN to watch the contest and join us in person in 2021. In the meantime, New Yorkers who are looking to “travel” later this summer are welcome in Coney Island to grab a delicious hot dog and fries!”

This year’s event will also raise awareness about the need for food banks. MLE and contestants will make donations to the banks and use the contest as a platform to highlight the work of these organizations.

The contest will also be used as a platform to honor essential workers in New York City.

ESPN will begin its broadcast at 12 p.m. The women’s coverage will begin at 12:20 p.m. and the men’s competition coverage will begin at 12:40 p.m. Mike Golic Jr. will do play-by-play. The show will also include an in-depth analysis by MLE’s Richard Shea, with reporting by ESPN’s Jason Fitz.

For more information, visit https://majorleagueeating.com.

ebrooklyn media/photos by Corazon Aguirre

Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo won the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest last year.


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