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HUNTINGTON — One of the Tri-State’s tastiest traditions will take over downtown Huntington on Saturday.

The 16th annual iHeartRadio West Virginia Hot Dog Festival will take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Pullman Square downtown, featuring live music, games for the whole family and hot dog vendors from across the state.

The event makes its return after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it won’t be performed on as grand a scale as in years past, one organizer said.

“It takes a long time to plan an event of this scale, and when we started planning we weren’t quite fully open yet. So we got to thinking what a scaled-down West Virginia Hot Dog Festival would look like, and that’s what we’re doing,” WTCR’s Judy Eaton said.

That means it will lack some traditional elements like the hot dog-eating and root beer-chugging contests, but Eaton added that it won’t take away from their ability to provide fun for the whole family.

“If you love hot dogs and you’re a fan of fun, it’s going to be a great day. We’ve got live music, some of the best hot dogs in the state, and this really is fun for the whole, entire family,” Eaton said. “We have a big day planned, but it will be scaled back due to the circumstances.”

Live music will begin at 11:15 a.m. with the sounds of father-son duo Joe and Joel Lambiotte, followed by Billy D and Gretchen Lee Band at 12:30 p.m., Sam L. Smith at 2:15 p.m. and the Carpenter Ants at 3:45 p.m.

The hot dog costume contest and pooch parade are scheduled for noon and the people’s pick for the car show winner will be announced at 2 p.m.

Other events like the weiner dog race and Bun Run 5K walk/run will be pushed to an alternate date, Oct. 23, and rebranded as the Happy Halloweenie 5K.

All proceeds from Saturday’s event and the October date will benefit Hoops Family Children’s Hospital in Huntington. To date, the festival has raised more than $250,000 for local charities.

“The event is fun anyway, and when you can tie in a local charity like that, it’s a win-win. If you’ve been up there to the hospital and see what they do for these kids, it’s amazing,” Eaton said.

Among the vendors registered for the festival are Huntington’s own Stewarts Original Hot Dogs, Midway Drive-In and Sam’s Hot Dogs. Additional vendors include Shake Shoppe of Ironton, Chesapeake Dairy Bell, Carnivore BBQ and Hot Dogs, Dave’s Famous T&L Hot Dogs from Morgantown, Gigi’s Pepperoni Rolls and G.D. Ritzy’s.

Luke Creasy is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @LukeCreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.

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