America’s most delicious wiener war returns to Coney Island on the Fourth of July – outdoors, under the sun and open to the public – just like the boardwalk gods intended.
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest “is my Super Bowl. It’s my Indy 500,” competitive eating legend and miracle of metabolism Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, a California native, told The Post. “I can’t wait to be back in New York and do this the right way.”
The competition began in 1916, when Coney Island frank-ophile Jim Mullen, an immigrant from Ireland, consumed 13 hot dogs.
It’s become a national holiday spectacle in recent years, broadcast coast-to-coast on ESPN.
But last year, amid the COVID-19 panic, the contest was held indoors for the first known time. Only a smattering of media attended. Even the nearby amusement parks were shuttered, leaving Coney Island a bland, empty bun of itself.
The event, too, lost much of its mustard without the boisterous beer- and sun-soaked crowds. Few people saw Chestnut set a world record, consuming an unbelievable 75 hot dogs with buns in just 10 minutes.
“It was weird, very weird,” Chestnut said.
The contest returns outdoors in all its gluttonous glory, albeit in a new location, Maimonides Park, the recently renamed home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, just a few steps from the event’s traditional location in front of Nathan’s Famous at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues.
“The Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest has been around longer than the Masters, longer than the NBA Championship and way longer than the Super Bowl,” boasted Major League Eating co-founder Richard Shea, whose company runs the event on behalf of Nathan’s Famous. “It is one of, if not the most, venerable dates on the sports calendar. Rivaled perhaps only by the Kentucky Derby.”
Tickets to the contest are free and available at MajorLeagueEating.com.