Nathan’s Famous will hold 2020 hot dog eating contest without fans

June 16, 2020

While most of New York City’s annual summer activities and celebrations have been canceled or postponed this year because of the coronavirus, one event will still take place. Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest will forge ahead in Coney Island on July 4, but with no fans, fewer eaters, and social distancing measures in place.

The event, which typically draws thousands of people to Brooklyn’s Surf and Stillwell Avenues, will be held at a private location with no spectators in attendance. This year, each 10-minute contest will feature five eaters, instead of the usual 15, in order to follow social distancing rules.

Leading eaters will compete in the contests, including world record-holder Joey Chestnut, who ate 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes in 2018, and Miki Sudo, who has won the women’s contest six times. ESPN will air the contest starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 4.

In addition to its annual donation of 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City, Major League Eating and individual eater will be donating to food banks and using the contest to highlight the work of the nonprofit groups, as well as essential workers, during the pandemic.

“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,” James Walker, senior vice president of restaurants at Nathan’s Famous, said in a press release.

“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.”

The city will also move forward this year with the annual Fourth of July fireworks hosted by Macy’s, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in April.


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