Chicago Hot Dog Fest to Rock Lincoln Park

hotdogfestWavy Gravy said it best: “We must be in heaven, man!”

Imagine a less-crowded Taste of Chicago where every booth you go to features Chicago-style hot dogs! Of course, that may be some people’s idea of hell, but not mine, buddy. I’ll be wading in bib-deep, armed with a deluxe Groupon for a few bucks off my food orders. That’s right: “orders.” Plural!

The Third Annual Hot Dog Fest is taking place this weekend at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street on Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., wrapping up an hour earlier on Sunday. Admission is free all days. That’s plenty of time to get your fill of hot dogs and get your guzzle on. Beer will be available. Dogs and cold beer! It’s a perfectly “Ruthian” experience as the eggheads from the History Museum might say, paying homage to that infamous hot dog chomper Babe Ruth.

The famed Babe Ruth "Dog that Got Away" at the Baseball Reliquary. PHOTO CREDIT: Larry Goren

The famed Babe Ruth "Dog that Got Away" at the Baseball Reliquary. PHOTO CREDIT: Larry Goren

I wonder if the famous Babe Ruth Hot Dog That Got Away will be on-loan from the Baseball Reliquary. This is a hardened,coal-like remnant of a hot dog that The Bambino couldn’t finish prior to collapsing on a train after eating in the vicinity of eighteen dogs in a row.

Booths will feature Boricua Dog, Flashy Hotdogs, Chubby Wieners, Frannie’s Beef and Catering, Chicago Classic, Select Cut Steakhouse (not sure about this one, but we’re being promised Vienna beef dogs exclusively), Cookers Red Hots, Fatso’s Last Stand, and others.

And what’s a Chicago History Museum event without boring lectures? (Just kidding.) The topics being covered by such notables as Bill Savage, Russell Lewis, Rich Bowen, and Bruce Kraig range from “Ketchup: The Condiment of Controversy” to “The Passion and People Behind Chicago’s Hot Dog Stands.” There’s also a talk on “Everything but the Squeal: Chicago’s Union Stock Yards.” I won’t be going to that one. Hey, I’m trying to eat here!

Music will be going on pretty much the whole time, too. That's the "rock" part of the title. Lincoln Parkers always insist on plenty of music, even while soaking up a little hot dog culture.

Since the event is at the History Museum, how about a little history lesson? The History Channel says that the origin of the hot dog can be traced to the Roman emperor Nero, whose cook, Gaius stuck a knife into roasted pig’s belly to see if the roast was edible, and out popped the intestines, which he stuffed with ground game meats mixed with spices and wheat – and the sausage was created! According to legend, Gaius exclaimed, “I have discovered something of great importance!” Right on, Gaius!

I know, I know – you’re trying to eat.


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