Hot Dog Days are informal events that are celebrated in communities throughout the hotdog-eating world, including the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. Their origin is obscure. As the name suggests the festivals revolve around eating hot dogs, but usually there are many other activities such as wiener dog races, root beer chugging contests and face painting. Often the proceeds from a hot dog day are given to charity. Industry groups, such as National Hot Dog & Sausage Council in the USA, which designates July as National Hot Dog Month and July 22 as National Hot Dog Day 2009, encourage, sponsor, and support the events. The council also gives advice on hot-dog eating etiquette, which aren't considered strict, as most Hot Dog Day style events do not adhere to them.
Notable Hot Dog Festivals
Alfred Village Hot Dog Day
Hot Dog Day is celebrated in the spring in the village of Alfred, New York. It has been celebrated since 1972, when students first proposed it. The event is focused on the hot dog, a food popular among college students for its cheapness and ease of preparation. Hot Dog Day itself is usually the third Saturday in April, although many students celebrate the entire "hot dog week", running from that Wednesday to that Sunday.
A crowd at Hot Dog Day 2007. Alfred University's Howell Hall and statue of King Alfred are visible on the left.
Hot Dog Day, which is organized primarily by students from Alfred University and Alfred State College, raises money for local charities and community organizations, such as Alfred's fire department and Montessori school.
Events typically include a parade, ice cream social, "fun run", mud Olympics, hot dog eating contests, carnival and live music. Main Street, which is closed to traffic, hosts most of these activities, along with food choices such as a chicken barbecue and numerous hot dog stands. Hot Dog Day is often the time chosen for alumni reunions for Alfred's two colleges.
FAHDD is an annual tradition taken upon by some Alfred Alumni after Alfred University disbanded all fraternities and soroities in 2002. It is held the same day as the traditional Alfred Hot Dog Day but in a different location each year. FAHDD embodies what Hot Dog Day used to be before 2002.
Annual Hot Dog Lunch on Capitol Hill
The Annual Hot Dog Lunch on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the American Meat Institute, is one of the most popular social events in Washington, D.C. During the lunch, which has been celebrated for decades in Washington, more than 1,000 members of Congress, Administration officials, journalists and lobbyists gather in a courtyard for a huge hot dog picnic. At the lunch, hot dog companies serve their franks from traditional hot dog carts.
Boston Hot Dog Safari
The Boston Hot Dog Safari is an annual charity benefit founded by Boston sports radio host, Eddie Andelman. The charity began in 1990 to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis, raising money for the Joey Fund, named after a friend of his who died of the disease in 1986 at the age of twelve. One of Andelman's all-time favorite foods are hot dogs, which is why the charity is called the Hot Dog Safari.
The Hot Dog Safari is one of the most popular charity events in Boston today. Over the years, it has a gained a steady flow of participants as well as money for charity. In one single day, an estimated $150,000 dollars was raised to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Medical experts have said that finding a cure for the disease is close to being found in only a few years' time.
The Safari is an all-you-eat supply of hot dogs, sausages and ice cream sundaes. Money is earned from tickets (sold either at the door or in advance) and raffles. Entertainment is also provided.
West Virginia Hot Dog Festival
The West Virginia Hot Dog Festival has been held in Huntington, West Virginia on the last Saturday in July since 2005. A charitable event, the festival may raise $10,000 or more for the children's cancer unit at the Edwards' Comprehensive Cancer Center.. Activities include a bun run (or walk), a weiner dog race, the Owner-Dog Look Alike Contest, a Car & Truck Show, a Hotdog Eating Contest and a Harmonica Championship.
Other Hot Dog Events
- Stanley Park Optimist Club - Season End Hot Dog Day Celebration
- Kiwanis Club of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada - Hot Dog Day
Newburyport, Massachusetts Hot Dog Day
Vancouver, Canada Hot Dog Day
- Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary Schools (WMES) Hot Dog Day
- In Discordianism a Discordian is required to, the first Friday after his illumination, Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog; this Devotive Ceremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Roman Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (no Hot Dog Buns).
Hot dog day events have been criticized for promoting animal slaughtering and for promoting animal cruelty, even if many of the activities of the events do not involve hot dogs. They have been criticized for encouraging people to turn a blind eye to these practices. Most hot dogs are produced by slaughtering pigs for meat, and vegetarians and vegans have created vegetarian hot dog days in response to the traditional events.