Nathan's Famous Announces 2009 Circuit

Nathanís Famous, Inc. has announced that its annual July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Contest will return for the 94th year at the companyís flagship store in Coney Island on July 4, 2009.

Today, Nathanís Famous unveiled a list of cities throughout the United States that will play host to official qualifying events. The champions of each qualifier will compete at the original Nathanís Famous in Coney Island on July Fourth.

ďEach July Fourth I am thrilled as an enormous crowd gathers in front of the original Nathanís Famous,Ē said Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathanís Famous, Inc. ďWe value our association with this great American holiday and I appreciate the fans, who come from around the world to witness the spectacle first hand while millions more watch on ESPN.Ē

Last year, Coney Island authorities stated that 40,000 fans crowded the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to witness Joey Chestnutís rematch with Takeru Kobayashi. Over one million households tuned in to the contestís live telecast on ESPN. Chestnut, a San Jose resident, ate 59 hot dogs in the ten-minute contest and ended up in a tie with Japanís Kobayashi. Overtime ensued, and in just 50 seconds Chestnut completed an additional five hot dogs to secure his second Nathanís Famous title.

The official 2009 Nathanís Famous hot dog-eating circuit begins on May 2nd in Biloxi, MS. Other cities on the tour include Las Vegas, NV (May 7),Boston, MA (May 9), Hartford, CT (May 16), Allentown, PA (May 17), Atlantic City, NJ (May 23), Tempe, AZ (May 30), Tampa, FL (May 30), Norfolk, VA (June 6), Kansas City, MO (June 6), Minneapolis, MN (June 6), Charlotte, NC (June 13), Denver, CO (June 13), Queens, NY (June 20), Atlanta, GA (June 27), and San Francisco, CA (June 27). Qualifiers are open to those 18 years of age and older and applications will be taken online at beginning at noon on Monday, April 6, 2009.

The winner of each qualifying round will receive the right to compete in the Nathanís Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest which, according to archives, has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant.

Itís become a tradition for Nathanís Famous to donate to hunger relief organizations on July Fourth, and, as it has in the past, the company plans to give 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City in a ceremony prior to the 2009 contest.