Hot dogs, hot music usher in July 4 weekend in the United States

United States gears up to welcome the Fourth of July weekend.

By: Associated Press | Published: July 4, 2015 9:45:46 am
July 4, Fourth of July, 4th of July, United states, US holiday, 4th of july weekend, July 4 weekend, July 4 photos Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams watches Joey Chestnut, left, and Matt Stonie, right, during a news conference to promote the upcoming Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot-Dog Eating Contest Friday, July 3, 2015, at Brooklyn Borough Hall in New York. (AP Photo)

As the nation gears up to celebrate America’s birthday, here are some Fourth of July highlights from around the country:

NATHAN’S HOT DOG EATING CONTEST

Competitive eaters have weighed in and are ready for Saturday’s annual hot dog eating contest in New York at Coney Island’s Nathan’s Famous. Four past winners hit the scales Friday and reigning champion Joey Chestnut is the heaviest at 230 pounds. Repeat runner-up Tim Janus is at 165 pounds. Michelle Lesco is the lightest contestant at 112 pounds at the 99-year-old Independence Day boardwalk tradition while New Zealand native Nela Zissler is at 114 pounds. Chestnut broke a world record in 2013 when he scoffed down 69 soggy dogs in just 10 minutes. He won last year’s contest with 61 for his eighth victory.

July 4, Fourth of July, 4th of July, United states, US holiday, 4th of july weekend, July 4 weekend, July 4 photos Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams watches Michelle Lesco, left, and Miki Sudo, right, during a news conference to promote the upcoming Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot-Dog Eating Contest, Friday, July 3, 2015, at Brooklyn Borough Hall in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Former champion Takeru Kobayashi is in this year’s contest. The event also featured the ceremonial stare down between competitors. More than 30,000 are expected to witness the feeding frenzy.

BOSTON POPS FEATURE 42ND SHOW

Boston gospel singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson will perform the national anthem as Keith Lockhart celebrates his 20th year as conductor for the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on Saturday.

The star-studded event is held at the DCR Hatch Cell in the city’s Back Bay off the Charles River Esplanade and will also feature Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh, “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Sons of Serendip, a quartet who met at Boston University.

Drum and bugle corps the Boston Crusaders and the USO Show Troupe will also perform. Events, which are televised and broadcast live in Boston, begin at 8 p.m. Fireworks start at 10:30 p.m. The Boston Pops also performed Friday night.

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