This Fourth of July Americans all over the country will be preparing for their backyard barbecues, firework launches and family picnics. Others will be preparing to consume as many hot dogs as humanly possible in ten minutes. That’s right; July 4th weekend also means that it is time for Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. This annual event is held at the original Nathan’s located at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Nathan’s Famous, Inc. will be celebrating their 96th year of the contest which has become a July Fourth tradition. What could be more American than watching twenty different contestants stuff their faces for the rights to call themselves International Hot Dog Eating Champion?

The event is televised on ESPN and last year’s live broadcast had over 1.7 million viewers hooked. This year the expected attendance is around 40,000 people. Many in the crowd will be cheering on 4 time champion, Joey Chestnut (San Jose, CA) who holds the world record for eating 68 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Now that is impressive. In addition to rooting for their favorite competitive eaters, audience members will also have the opportunity to be entertained by GigMasters variety act performer Otsie Kerplotsie of New York, New York. Otsie Kerplotsie, also known as Christopher Lueck will dress as Uncle Sam for the patriotic festivities and amaze those in attendance with his stupendous stilt-walking and juggling talents. Lueck’s been hired to interact with the crowd and get people excited for the day’s festivities. Needless to say, we will be watching the contest on July 4th. Sure, we want to know if Joey Chestnut will take top honors again, but more importantly we want to get a glimpse of Otsie Kerplotsie, or should I say Uncle Sam, in action. Check back next week for photos and more info about this Fourth of July favorite.

Do you watch the contest on the Fourth of July?  Who do you think will win this year? Let us know in the comments below.