Nathan's Famous Kicks Off 2013 Hot Dog-Eating Circuit On Boardwalk To Celebrate Opening Of Coney Island

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Coney Island in Full Swing Despite Hurricane Sandy

For the first time ever, Nathan’s Famous will begin the national hot dog-eating qualifying circuit on the boardwalk of Coney Island, kicking off a nationwide tour that will stop in a dozen cities before concluding back in Coney Island with the annual July 4 world championship.

Nathan’s Famous will launch the 2013 tour with a qualifying event on Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m., at its boardwalk restaurant as part of opening-weekend celebrations for Coney Island. Coney Island will be open and ready to go in 2013 despite the enormous damage it suffered from Hurricane Sandy last year.

“There is no better way to show our commitment to Coney Island and all its businesses, residents and fans than to kick off the summer season with a great event on the boardwalk,” said Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathan’s Famous, Inc. “Our thoughts are with all those who continue to suffer from superstorm Sandy. Coney Island will be open for business and we are looking forward to a great summer season at America’s original amusement district – grab lunch at Nathan’s and enjoy the beach, the NY Aquarium, a Cyclones baseball game and a ride on the Wonder Wheel and the World Famous Cyclone.”

The hot dog eating contest will be part of a special weekend of events and activities in Coney Island. Sunday March 24 marks the 29th annual “Blessing of the Rides,” during which pastor Debbie Santiago of the Salt N Sea Mission officially opens Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. This year, to celebrate the re-opening of Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy, Deno’s Wonder Wheel has declared that all rides will be free to everyone on March 24.

The winner of the March 23 boardwalk contest will receive a spot in the historic Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, an event that attracts some 40,000 fans. The qualifying contest will feature some of the nation’s top professional and amateur eaters, including Eater X, Crazy Legs Conti, Badlands Booker and Larell Marie Mele. The top performing male and female hot dog eaters in the event will earn a chance to compete at Noon on July 4, 2013 in front of the Nathan’s Famous flagship in Coney Island, NY. The July Fourth event will be broadcast on ESPN.

Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA, holds the world record for eating 68 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes, and he will seek his seventh straight title this year. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, VA, is expected to defend her title as female champion of the world. She consumed 45 Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes last year.

Host cities of the 2013 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit include Las Vegas, NV; Boston, MA; Naples, FL; St. Paul, MN; Queens, NY, Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Pittsburgh, PA; Cleveland, OH; Savannah, GA; Calgary, Alberta; and State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. According to archives, the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened his legendary hot dog stand. Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.

Registration occurs at, and all competitors must be 18 years or older.

About Nathan’s Famous

Nathan’s products are currently distributed in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands and six foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. The Nathan’s restaurant system currently consists of 308 units, comprised of 303 franchised units and five company-owned units (including two units temporarily closed due to Hurricane Sandy and one restaurant closed for redevelopment). For additional information about Nathan’s please visit our website at


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Teresa Brady
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