Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship Devours Coney Island Next Week

Joey Chestnut winning the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest, 2016. (Photo: Nathan’s Famous / Facebook)

Next week we celebrate our nation’s independence — and what better way to recognize those hard-won freedoms than watching a group of athlete-level eaters cram their faces with franks during the world’s best-known eating competition.

For its 45th year, Nathan’s Famous will hold its annual hot dog eating championship on July 4 in Coney Island. The contest is expected to draw between 30,000 and 40,000 people to the flagship restaurant at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues.

The event takes place from 10am–1pm and pits 20 competitors — 10 men and 10 women — against each other for the title of America’s best hot dog chow-hound. In addition to honor and glory, winners could take home a $20,000 prize.

The big question this year is: Will the Mustard Belt stay firmly wrapped around Joey Chestnut’s waist?

Last year, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut reclaimed his championship title by wolfing down a record-setting 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes — 17 more hot dogs than runner-up Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie. Stonie’s victory in 2015, “woke up the sleeping giant” Chestnut said.

While this contest may just seem like a display of glorious gluttony, professional eaters train with a rigorous schedule. Lean muscle and an elastic stomach are the keys to staying competitive, contestant Juan Rodriguez told Tasting Table.

The contestants will need every edge they can get. Winners often even eat more than 60 hot dogs to claim the title.

Here are a couple helpful things to know if you’re planning to make the check out the contest this year:

Off-street parking is available in the parking lot at MCU Park. Enter at Surf Avenue and West 19th Street.

Here is the schedule for the contest:

10am – Pre-event performances
11am – Women’s Contest
12:30pm – Men’s Contest Begins
12:55pm – Trophy Presentation

Enjoy the show and happy holidays!

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