On July 4, contestants at Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island will shove dog after dog down their throats in a bid to be crowned champion. While this may not be how the Founding Fathers envisioned future Independence Day celebrations, the hot dog has become an indisputably important part of the American holiday. Instead of the usual backyard barbecue, why not go on a journey in homage to the humble hot dog?
Frankfurter fans have their choice of pilgrimages. In Toledo, Ohio, diners can admire a preserved, mounted hot-dog bun signed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. In Brooklyn, New York, spectators at the Hot-Dog Eating Contest can make the short trip to Green-Wood Cemetery to visit the gorgeous mausoleum of the inventor of the Coney Island hot dog. And those willing to wait for their meals can take a lazy tube-float down the Delaware River to barbecue bliss at New Jersey’s floating hot dog stand. Nothing can top that. Except maybe some mustard.