Coney Island hot dog eating contest to be held without fans on July 4, will air nationally on ESPN

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island in New York will be held without fans in attendance this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said.

The event, which began 53 years ago, will be broadcast nationally on ESPN at noon on July 4.

In an effort to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines, the event will feature only one-third the participants compared to past years, with five competitors instead of 15. Included in this year’s field is 12-time champion Joey Chestnut, who will be defending his crown after devouring 71 hot dogs in 2019.

“2020 has been a year for the history books, and the realization that this storied July 4 tradition would be able to occur, is a great feeling,” Nathan’s Famous senior vice president James Walker told ABC7 in New York. “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 contest will honor essential workers and food banks in New York City, which has been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. with more than 17,000 deaths being recorded in the city alone.

“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 4,” Walker added.

Tags Coney Island coronavirus pandemic July 4

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