WASHINGTON – As the grills fire up this summer across the country, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) knows this is a time to promote one of its signature events: The Annual Hot Dog Lunch on Capitol Hill.
Legislators, staffers and members of the NAMI will gather together on July 14 in the Nation’s Capital to celebrate National Hot Dog Day and National Hot Dog Month at the Rayburn House Office Building.
As part of the always-popular occasion, seven hot dog companies will serve hundreds of attendees their brand of wieners. Invited guests will be able to sample all the delicious treats they like. Another traditional part of the event is making baseball part of the celebration. Each year, NAMI invites former professional baseball players to greet attendees and sign autographs. This year, Andre Dawson, Andy Van Slyke and Jack Clark will be in attendance.
Last year, NAMI brought former MLB players Tony Perez, Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner to the lunch. “People just associate baseball and hot dogs together,” Eric Mittenthal, NAMI’s vice president of public affairs said. “They are two American icons that you enjoy from childhood. It really helps us to tie it together.”
Dating back to the early 1990s, National Hot Dog Day contends enviably with all the other food holidays that have bombarded social media channels around the US.
“I don’t know if we were one of the originals, but we certainly predated a lot of the ones you see out there,” Mittenthal said. “Still, the growing presence of social media has helped connect the group to other people celebrating an American summer original.”