How we’re celebrating the Fourth of July in 2018:
Some 219 million Americans plan to celebrate the Fourth of July, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on cookouts and picnics as they celebrate Independence Day this year, down from $7.1 billion in 2017. Two-thirds of those surveyed plan to take part in a cookout or picnic, spending an average $75.35. The total is down a bit because the holiday is in midweek, thus putting a limit on how much celebrating (or drinking) you can do at that barbeque or picnic.
Broken down by plans:
–Cookout /BBQ /Picnic: 65.5 percent
–Fireworks /community celebration: 43.6 percent
–Travel /vacation: 13.3 percent
–Will not celebrate: 11.6 percent
–Attending a parade: 13.5 percent
–Other: 8.3 percent
That Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest:
This year around 40-thousand fans will hang out around the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the contest which has been going on for 101 years –since 1916, when NATHAN HANDWERKER opened the original restaurant on Coney Island.
The pre-show starts at 10 am with performances by various musical groups and rap performances. The women’s competition begins at 11 am (Eastern), the men at 12 (although the eating actually begins at 12:40 pm, after the introductions and all). You can see it on ESPN2 beginning at noon with reruns at 4 pm and 10 pm (all times Eastern).
Winners receive the traditional mustard-yellow championship belt, competitive eating’s greatest prize, like golf’s green jacket for the Masters winner or football’s Vince Lombardi Trophy and… a $20-thousand cash prize for each division (male and female). Last year, JOEY “Jaws” CHESTNUT took the crown for the second year in a row by eating 72 hot dogs in the 10-minute regulation match. It was his tenth win.
PS: Downing more than 60 Nathan’s Famous franks and the accompanying buns adds up to more than 18,000 calories in just 10 minutes.
MIKI SUDO of Las Vegas, NV, won her fourth title in as many years, eating 41 hot dogs and buns.
In addition to the finals, Nathan’s holds several hot dog eating competitions in the weeks and months before the big event, and qualifiers are also invited to participate.
Joey Chestnut, who’s 33, was “Rookie of the Year” in the International Federation of Competitive Eating (which registers challengers) in 2005. He first took down defending champion TAKERU KOBAYASHI of Nagano, Japan, in 2007 and set the current record in 2007. In previous competitions, he’s eaten 102 tamales in 12 min, 121 Twinkies in 6 min, 70 Bratwurst in 10 min, 62 Pulled Pork sliders in 10 min, 141 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes, seven and a half pounds of Buffalo Chicken Wings in 12 minutes, 103 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes, and 118 Jalapeno poppers in 10 minutes. He also had 25 pastrami sandwiches and 23 six-inch Cheesesteaks in 10 minutes.
101st annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest odds (Bovada.com):
–Matt Stonie, +700
–Carmen Cincotti, +450
–Joey Chestnut, -450 (favorite)
Note: Cincotti finished second in the contest last year with 60 hot dogs consumed.
Men’s Championship; Total hot dogs eaten by winner:
–Over 63.5, -450
–Under 63.5, +275
–Miki Sudo, -400
–Anyone else, +250
Women’s Championship; Total hot dogs eaten by winner:
–Over 39.5, +120
–Under 39.5, -150
Nathan’s trivia: Nathan’s hot dogs are marketed and sold in over 40-thousand locations worldwide including over 30-thousand retail locations. Last year, Nathan’s sold over 425 million beef hot dogs.
Top 5 hot dog-eatin’ regions:
5. San Antonio
4. Chicago, IL
2. Los Angeles
1. New York
Top 5 hot dog-eatin’ ball parks:
5. Minute Maid Park (Houston) –1,248,000
4. Yankees Stadium –1,365,000
3. Wrigley Field –1,543,500
2. Coors Field (Denver) –1,545,000
1. Dodger Stadium –1,674,400
Fourth of July BBQs:
Lotta hot dogs being eaten over the holiday.
Who better than the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (hot-dog.org) to tell us that Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs each year (or about 70 per person), but more are eaten in the warm weather months when the grills are fired up. They estimate that this weekend (the biggest hot dog holiday in the United States) we fat Americans will wolf down 150 million hot dogs (mostly on the grill, but some in the ol’ franks n’ beans dish).
Also, the council predicts we’ll eat over seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s enough for every person on the planet.
Factoid: Are you gonna barbeque over the weekend? Lemme ask you this: which emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere –a gas grill or a charcoal grill? You may be surprised! Answer: Your charcoal grill emits 11 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour. Wired magazine says if you switch to a gas grill –you’ll cut CO2 emissions in half. And that’s today’s ecological tip!
Fourth of July Trivia:
These six people did something nobody else did: George Clymer, Ben Franklin, Robert Morris, Roger Sherman, George Read and James Wilson. What was it? Answer: signed both the Declaration of Independence and the U-S Constitution.
Factoid: The time on the Independence Hall clock as depicted on the back of the $100 bill is 4:10. But it can’t be read with the naked eye.
Bad weekend to drive:
We reviewed stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the worst days to drive last month, but just a reminder –this weekend is the worst weekend of the year to drive if you’d like to avoid an accident.
In the most recent rankings, January first (probably the wee, morning hours when everybody is coming back from one of those drunken New Year’s Eve parties) is the worst time of all to drive.
But Monday (Jul 02) ranks ninth in total crashes, Tuesday (Jul 03) is third and Wednesday (Jul 04) came in second. All told, this holiday is the worst one of the year, and it’s verified by the Insurance Information Institute as well. Labor Day weekend qualifies as a close second.
In fact, after New Years and July Fourth, the remaining 13 worst days are mostly all in the summer months, so unfortunately it would appear that warm weather, trips to the beach, and BBQ all correlate with automobile collisions. But 41 percent of the deaths on July fourth involved people with high blood alcohol concentrations, as did 51 percent of the deaths on January first. Also, more motorcyclists are killed on July Fourth than any other day.
So, mark your calendars and remember to drive carefully. And never, ever, get behind the wheel of car while intoxicated.
Most popular drinking days:
With the Fourth of July looming, a survey of two-thousand U-S adults by Yahoo! revealed the five most popular drinking days:
4. St. Patrick’s Day
3. Fourth of July
1. New Year’s Eve
# # #
Top-10 deadliest days for vehicle crashes:
(source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
Interestingly, New Year’s Eve isn’t even in the top-three days for auto accidents. Although we commonly associate the holiday with drinking, the Fourth of July is the number one day when most car crashes take place, according to the most recent stats, and the day before is number two:
10. Sep 02
9. Jul 02
8. Aug 12
7. Aug 04
6. Aug 06
5. Jan 01
4. Aug 03
3. Dec 23
2. Jul 03
1. July Fourth
BUT —New Year’s ranks ABOVE the Fourth in alcohol-related crashes! The IIHS reports alcohol was a primary factor in 41 percent of crash deaths on July Fourth. The only date that surpasses Independence Day for alcohol-related crash deaths is New Year’s Day, when alcohol is cited as the main factor in 51 percent of vehicle crashes. However, August is the deadliest month, with four out of ten days where the death rates are in the top-10.
Fourth of July Pet Patrol:
While we’re on the subject, if you want to keep your pet, leave it home when you head out to the fireworks. And take a few steps to keep it happy and safe while you’re out. More pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year.
If your pet has a favorite “safe place,” make sure it has access to that place while you’re gone. Or set up a quiet, comfortable room for your pet to hide out in while you’re gone. Leave the radio or TV on for background noise, too, since it could help cover up any of the noise from fireworks outside. Animals have excellent hearing, and the sound of fireworks from even several miles away can terrify your pet.
FYI: Find out more at www.animalcenter.org.
July Fourth Fireworks:
The 4th of July holiday means many of us will be setting off fireworks. Despite the annual warnings, Emergency Rooms are expected to be busy. Fireworks will injure nearly 10-thousand Americans this week. Some common sense tips:
–Don’t point and toss fireworks in anyone’s direction.
–Never try to pick up and relight fireworks that are duds.
–Children should NEVER be allowed to play with fireworks without an adult present.
Trivia: We’ve been lighting fireworks on July fourth since 1777, the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Six centuries earlier, the Chinese filled bamboo tubes with saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal. Today, manufacturers encase potassium chlorate, gunpowder and other ingredients in papier-mâché shells up to 25 inches wide.
PS: In 1999 the U-S Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 85-hundred fireworks-related emergency-room visits –about two-thirds of these in July. And there’s no tally of the countless blistered hands, traumatized pets, singed shrubs, and melted G.I. Joe dolls. The Commission says it’s dangerous to handle fireworks yourself –blowing up a watermelon with an M-1000, for instance. Even sparklers can catch clothing on fire, and something like an illegal M-80 can take your hand off. In fact, the Commission says that’s the second leading cause of injury behind firecrackers and ahead of rockets.
# # #
And… that brings us to this reminder: don’t set off fireworks on your head.
It sounds ridiculous, but three years ago (in 2015), DEVON STAPLES, who was 22, decided it would be a great idea to take a fireworks mortar tube and put it on his head, and set off a large, flaming artillery shell firework out of it. Of course, it didn’t end well. According to Maine State police, he died instantly from his injuries. Not shocking, but police say alcohol was involved.
“I was the first one who got there. There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there,” his brother told the Daily News. “It was a freak accident…. But Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid. He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh.”
Millions of us are celebrating our American freedoms this week by setting off illegal fireworks. According to the Grand Rapids Press, they’re not illegal just because of the fire danger or risk of injury. Illegal fireworks are also too loud for your health. Complaints about the noise they cause are up in many communities this year.
JOEL LEO says it’s so bad in his neighborhood that he has to use earplugs if he wants to get a good night’s sleep. “I can sleep like a baby if I’ve got my earplugs in,” he says. Most police departments try responding to noise complaints, but they admit that other concerns come first, like all the pop-up fires that come with illegal fireworks.
Some Fourth of July fireworks facts & figures:
–Fireworks sales in 2016: $345 million (Displays); $825 million (Consumer); total $1.17 billion.
–In 1994: $275 million to $300 million
–In 1976: $30 million
–Pounds of fireworks consumed in the U-S in 2016: 285.3 million pounds
–In 1992: 87 million
–in 1976: 29 million
–Share used during July 4th weekend: 75 percent
–Portion of fireworks that are imported: 92 percent; main source: China
–Emergency rooms stats for fireworks-related injuries: A significant number of injuries due to fireworks are reported every year, including in states where consumer fireworks are against the law. In 2016, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks caused:
–More than 25,000 injuries treated among people of all ages, including 11,133 emergency department visits.
–Total medical expenses of more than $61 million.
–For every 100-thousand children who visit emergency rooms, the number who are treated for accidents involving fireworks: 13
–Pens and pencils: 51
–States with highest fireworks sales: Texas, California, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Indiana.
Top-10 Fireworks displays, (source: Tripso.com):
7. (tie) Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville, St Louis.
6. Kaboom Town!, Addison, TX.
5. Go 4th on the River Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza, New Orleans, LA.
4. Lights on the Lake, Lake Tahoe, NV. One of the largest and most incredible displays west of the Mississippi. Launched from an offshore barge, the fireworks are visible around most of the lake, and include a simultaneous music broadcast.
3. Fireworks on the Mall, Washington, DC. This tradition started more than 200 years ago when Thomas Jefferson hosted the first official Fourth of July celebration at the presidential mansion.
2. Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular, New York City. The nation’s biggest birthday fireworks display. It lights up the night sky over the East River at 9 pm. with more than 120-thousand bursts of color and light and 30-thousand aerial shells from around the world. Fireboats shoot streams of red, white and blue water 300 feet over the river.
1. Boston, MA. Hundreds of thousands of people come to the banks of the Charles; the music is broadcast on TV and radio allowing citizens across the city to enjoy the fireworks that are choreographed to the Boston Pops music. The fireworks show includes more than 10-thousand shells and devices with more than 17,500 pounds of pyrotechnics.
Finally –here’s your Fourth of July quote from Dixie Chick NATALIE MAINES: “I don’t understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but, as for loving the whole country… I don’t see why people care about patriotism.”
Have yourself a safe and happy Fourth! You can catch me in the boat in the Rhinelander parade downtown, after getting off the air with the Morning Hodag, of course!