On July 4, US celebrates life, liberty, and the pursuit of a hot-dog-eating world record

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 4:06am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 7:32am

Americans celebrated the July Fourth holiday on Tuesday with the reopening of a New Jersey beach closed to everyone but the governor after a government shutdown, a record-setting hot-dog eating contest and fireworks displays across the country.

Beachgoing, baseball and fireworks, Fourth of July traditions, were embraced throughout the country, along with family cookouts that favoured hot dogs and hamburgers. An informal peace-and-love festival in an Oregon forest drew more than 13,000 people including two men who died of apparently natural causes.

The United States commemorated the Declaration of Independence, adopted by the 13 American colonies on July 4, 1776. The document proclaims rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

New Jersey and Maine ended partial government shutdowns just in time for the holiday.

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gulped, chomped and powered his way to a 10th title on Tuesday, continuing his record-setting reign as the chowing champion at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

Shoving water-soaked buns and wriggling franks into his mouth on a hot, sunny day on the Coney Island boardwalk, he downed 72 dogs and buns in 10 minutes to beat his own record and hoist the Mustard Belt for a 10th time. The San Jose, California, man bested up-and-comer Carmen Cincotti, of Mays Landing, New Jersey, who ate 60 franks and buns on his 24th birthday.

Miki Sudo notched a fourth straight win in the women’s competition. The Las Vegas woman ate 41 hot dogs and buns to beat Michelle Lesco of Tucson, Arizona, who downed 32 franks and buns.

During the men’s competition, five people were taken into custody for trying to disrupt the event, police said. The people appeared to be attempting to unfold a black banner before police stopped them and took them away. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals members had been giving away free vegan hot dogs outside the event, but spokeswoman Tricia Lebkuecher said the people arrested inside weren’t affiliated with PETA.

Chestnut has dominated the chowdown throwdown for years, eating 70 franks and buns last year to top his then-record and take back the title from Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie. The 25-year-old Stonie came in third on Tuesday, with 48 franks and buns.

“There’s no secret, I love to eat, and I love doing it, I love to win, so I had to figure out my body and push it to the limit,” a sweating Chestnut said after his win. The 33-year-old said he’d hoped to down even more dogs but was leaving feeling good.

Major League Baseball had a full schedule of 15 games in mostly packed stadiums and thousands were at beaches up and down the country.

More than 13,000 people gathered for an informal peace-and-love celebration in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest, where two people died of non-violent causes, a spokeswoman said.

Professing no leaders and no organization, the Rainbow Family Gathering marked July Fourth with “care-taking of mother earth, non-violence and living a compassionate and loving life,” according to a blog.

A 72-year-old man died on Monday and a 20-year-old man collapsed and died on Tuesday.

There were 15 arrests, mostly for driving under the influence, drugs, or disorderly conduct, in addition to 108 violations and 432 warnings.

Later on Tuesday, thousands will gather along the waterfront of New York City for the annual fireworks display.