West Virginia Hot Dog Festival: More Than Just Hot Dogs
The WV Hot Dog Festival takes place at "Hot Dog Crossing" (the intersection of Pullman Square Drive and Third Avenue).
The West Virginia Hot Dog Festival comes from the mind of John Mandt Jr. the current owner of the 86-year-old family run Stewart’s Original Hot Dogs. The idea came not only out of a love for hot dogs, but also from a drive to give something back to the community.
That’s why all of the proceeds from the festival’s contests, rides, runs/walks, and activities go to the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell-Huntington Hospital.
“When I came up with this idea, I wanted a way to not only bring people together, but to also bring about awareness and raise money for a cause that is near to my heart,” said Mandt. “There was a time when we didn’t have the availability of a children’s hospital and I know how important it is that we have that now. This event focuses on raising funds to help children who have cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. And through Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital, we are able to be a part of helping healing take place.”
The WV Hot Dog Festival has raised more than $200,000 to date.
The first year for the festival was 2005 in which it raised $8,000 for the children at Hoops. As of 2017, the total had grown to $200,000.
The festival is a fundraiser for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but it also focuses on children at large. “We continue to encourage kids at the event to be original and make a difference, through volunteer work or fundraising,” Mandt said. “Each child has an original talent that they can grow and use to be the future of our cause, in their own way. We want them to realize this talent and feel supported in their efforts to do something with it,”
The WV Hot Dog Festival features the famous/infamous wiener dog race.
This year’s festival will begin at 8:00 a.m. with a “Bun Run” 10k run/walk (registration opens at 7:00 a.m.). Other events throughout the day include a car show, a hot dog eating contest, and root beer chugging contest, a dog costume contest, a motorcycle stunt show, a wrestling expo, and the famous/infamous wiener dog races at noon. This year will also feature two extra hours of entertainment showcasing Huntington’s popular band Of The Dell on the main stage from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
For a map and full schedule of events, go to wvhotdogfestival.com.
*It should go without saying, but I’m going to mention it anyway, there will of course be lots of hot dog vendors so come hungry!