WASHINGTON, DC – Today is National Hot Dog Day, but yesterday was the day to celebrate America’s love of hot dogs in Washington, DC. Nearly 1,500 lawmakers, congressional staff, meat industry representatives and members of the media gathered at the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Annual Hot Dog Lunch July 22 at the Rayburn House Office Building Courtyard on Capitol Hill.

“The Hot Dog Lunch has been an annual tradition for more than 40 years. This longstanding event celebrates America’s love of hot dogs – a love that crosses party lines,” said NAMI President and CEO, Barry Carpenter. “The lunch is one of the most popular and anticipated events on Capitol Hill, as guests join us to celebrate this iconic American food in the company of major league baseball greats.” 

Thanks to the longstanding pairing of hot dogs and baseball, part of this event includes inviting major league baseball legends to attend the lunch to greet fans, sign autographs. This year's legends included:

• Tony Perez, a former first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds and seven-time All-Star who went on to win three World Series championship titles and earned a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Perez also managed the World Team during the 2015 All-Star Game;

• Bill Buckner, a former first baseman who played for the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, California Angels and Kansas City Royals. He was an All-Star and 1980 National League batting champion; and

• Mookie Wilson, who played outfield for the New York Mets, was a key part of the 1986 World Series champion team and is a member of the Mets Hall of Fame.

Guests enjoyed more than 3,500 hot dogs, corn dogs, brats and other sausages from popular hot dog manufacturers including Boar’s Head Provisions Co., Inc.; Dietz & Watson, Inc.; Hofmann Sausage Company, LLC; Hormel Foods Corporation; Land O’Frost, Inc.; Smithfield Foods, Inc.; and Tyson Foods, Inc. All leftover food was donated to Carpenter’s Shelter, a local food bank.

The 2015 Hot Dog Lunch is co-hosted by Reps. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). The event is sponsored by the American Bakers Association, American Beverage Association, Diageo, Hormel Foods Corporation, International Bottled Water Association and Snack Food Association.