The festive patriotic holiday season is upon us. Time for fireworks, flag waving, cards in bike spokes and hot dogs. When it comes to the Fourth of July, America is one big sausage-fest.

Don’t take my word for it. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) says that we go bonkers over the Fourth of July holiday. It’s when we consume the most wieners.

How many wieners are we shoveling down our pie holes in the name of our country, you ask? I’m glad you asked because the answer is going to take your breath away. At the peak moment of consumption, during the peak season, according to the NHDSC, we Americans will gobble down 818 hot dogs per second. Not to be gross but it’s worth considering that our bodies will likely be expelling the waste products from these sausages at roughly the same rate. We are in this together!

Sad to say that meatless wieners are not included in the research. They don’t count but if they did, the numbers would stay about the same.

Loosen your belts because coming up we are going to collectively eat 150 billion hot dogs in one day. How many hot dogs is that, you ask? I’m glad you asked because the answer is a real gas. 150 billion hot dogs, neatly placed end to end, would stretch a distance of roughly 13,345 miles. That’s way longer than the longest commercial flight in the world today which takes 18 hours and 45 minutes and covers 9,523 miles between Newark NJ and Singapore. We eat more than that!

You guessed it. July is National Hot Dog Month. It’s kind of surprising that National Hot Dog Day is July 18 and not the day of reckoning itself, July 4. On July 18, 2018 Washington DC will host the Annual Hot Dog Lunch on Capitol Hill where more than 1,000 lawmakers, Capitol Hill staff and administrators will masticate in bipartisan harmony.

The NHDSC even puts out a planning guide to a month-long hot dog celebration. It’s interesting to note that National Hot Dog Day coincides with this year’s Major League Baseball All Star game. Why is it that hot dogs and baseball are so closely linked? Maybe because hot dogs are bat shaped.

In the planning guide the NHDSC suggests a family friendly hot dog eating contest. Just how many hot dogs can a human consume in 10 short but exciting minutes? I’m really glad you asked because the answer will blow your mind. Last year on the Fourth of July in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut shattered his previous record of 70 dogs and buns by downing 72 dogs and buns.

Before you decide, “I can do that easily,” consider that 72 dogs is more than the average American eats in one year. You have to make a name for yourself before getting into the big event on Coney Island. You can’t just waltz up to the judging stand on the day of the competition and sign up like an open mike night. You have to be a previous world champion, a regional contest winner or a special invitee.

There are rules and decorum associated with this prestigious performance. For example, messy eating will earn you a yellow flag and the red flag is issued for the dreaded “reversal of fortune,” which instantly disqualifies you.

This is not some macho man sausage-fest. The gals are impressive gobblers and they love their wieners. Picture if you will the spectacle of Sonya Thomas shocking the field at the first Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for Women in 2011, when she gagged and held down 40 wieners in ten breathtaking minutes. Thomas won the coveted Pepto-Bismol sponsored bejeweled pink belt.

And who can forget that fateful day of the first competition in 1967 when 400-pound 32-year-old truck driver Walter Paul threw down the gauntlet by shoving 127 freaking hot dogs into his gullet at one sitting. Records of the first competition are sketchy so no one really knows how long that took or if there were buns involved. I don’t care if it took all day, those are impressive numbers. How much meat is that? I’m glad you asked because that was enough pork parts and chicken feet to get two first downs and then some in the National Football League.

I will be in Redstone this coming Fourth of July where the many fun and funky family activities do not include a hot dog eating competition or the chance for a reversal of fortune. I’m sure there will be some dogs on the grill but not enough to go halfway around the world.

I’ve not been in the Fraser for the Fourth but I now see that this place knows how to celebrate, so there may be a contest. Check your local listings. To get into the mood you might want to hit Fraser Valley Hot Dogs in Winter Park. To try every dog on the menu would take a world champion at least an hour.

Over in Aspen (future Winter Park) they have some great activities including a world class parade, dramatic fireworks and a sushi eating competition. Just kidding, the parade is not as big as the Macy’s parade and the sushi is mostly sticky rice which can really slow you down or reverse your fortune if you go too fast.

However you celebrate this great nation remember that’s it’s not Thanksgiving, so pace yourself and remember moderation. Life is not a competition and a reversal of fortune is just one too many hot dogs away.

Steve Skinner wishes you a festive and patriotic holiday. Reach him at