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July Fourth in New York City Means Two Things: Fireworks and Hot Dog Eating Contests

7/01/15 1:59 PM EDT
Although Independence Day may be a federal holiday commemorating the adoption and signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 that declared independence of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain’s rule, the holiday has some seemingly unrelated associations that have become American traditions. The Macy’s July 4th fireworks display started in 1976. The fireworks display is estimated to cost around $6 million this year and launch 40,000 different pyrotechnic shells at an impressive rate of 1,600 shells per minute. In 1916, Nathan’s Famous began the annual July 4th hotdog eating contest the same year that the hot dog stand was founded on New York’s Coney Island. Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker started selling hotdogs for a nickel, which was the price of a Nathan’s famous hotdog up through 1940, however the current cost of a Nathan’s hotdog is currently priced at $3.58. The original Nathan’s Famous hotdog stand still stands in its original location. The record for the most hotdogs eaten in the ten minute contest is held by Joey Chestnut of California, who ate 69 hotdogs in the 2014 competition.
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