The Fourth of July will be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest isn't going anywhere as it will take place this Saturday in Brooklyn, New York. The event, which has been dominated by Joey Chestnut, will have a twist this year as no fans will be in attendance and will take place at a private location that has only been described as an indoor arena. Saturday's event will start at noon ET and will air on ESPN.
"We're ecstatic to make the announcement that the Hot Dog-Eating Contest will take place this year," said James Walker, Nathan's Famous Senior Vice President, Restaurants. "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. 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."
For the men, Chestnut is the clear favorite as he was won the event 12 times. Back in 2018, Chestnut set the world record by eating 74 hot dogs and buns. In April, Chestnut talked about how disappointing it would be to compete without a crowd cheering him on.
"It would suck not to do it in front of a huge crowd, but there'll still be people watching and I'll still be able to make people happy, I guess," Chestnut said to TMZ. "And, I'd push myself to a ridiculous limit." Chestnut also revealed to TMZ his training regimen that includes healthy eating but also bulk eating with a weekly cheat meal.
On the women's side, Miki Sudo is looking to defend her title. Last year, Sudo ate 31 hot dogs and buns, and her personal record is 41, which she set in 2017. She is looking for her seventh consecutive title.
"The Nathan's Famous contest is synonymous with July 4, America and the celebration of freedom," host George Shea said. "We are honored to use the contest to highlight the incredible spirit of those who have supported our city and nation through the current challenge."