Top Ten Tips for Watching the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Live

Qualified By on Jan 13, 2014

Planning on spending your Fourth of July watching the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest? Here are my top ten tips to make the most out of your experience.


1. Arrive early.
Coney Island on the Fourth of July gets crowded. Festivities start at 10:00 a.m. but get there by 9 to secure a good spot.


2. Wear sunscreen.
You’ll spend the entire day out in the hot Coney Island sun. Slather up with sunscreen or risk turning as red as the American flag.


3. Bathroooms are few and far between.
To get to a bathroom you’ll have to wade through huge crowds and stand in long lines. You might want to skip your morning coffee.


4. Rain in the forecast? Bring a poncho.
Don’t be that person in the crowd who puts up an umbrella, pokes their neighbors, and blocks everyone’s view. If the sky is overcast, put on a poncho. It’s really better for everyone.


5. Look out for free swag.
They usually throw out thunder sticks (blow up things that make noise when you hit them together) and sometimes a few t-shirts. Sometimes an eater will create posters to hand out, so look for those.


6. Take the Subway
You can drive to Coney Island, but why? It will be crowded and parking will be hard. Take it easy and take public transportation.


7. Make sure your camera is charged
The Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest is a spectacle that you’ll want to capture on “film.” Charge your camera, take lots of photos, and tag them with the #RoadToConey hashtag on social media.


8. Don’t forget, others want to watch too.
I’m sure you came up with a witty poster to get yourself on ESPN. But the people behind you came to watch the event. Put it down once in a while.


9. Follow along.
For more of the action and behind-the-scenes-scoop, follow the contest on social media. @EatingContest, @EatFeats, @GCShea, @OriginalNathans, @ValryLand, and many of the eaters will be tweeting along.


6. Know your stuff.
Impress your neighbors with your competitive eating knowledge. Know that “that little Japanese guy,” hasn’t competed in years. Know your HDBs from your reversals of fortunes. Look around this website to know who’s who and what’s what.