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NEW YORK — The Fourth of July weekend breathes new meaning to our freedom this year.

After the pandemic put a stop to last year’s festivities, many are looking forward to celebrating.

Among the events to look forward to is the historic Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The public wasn’t able to attend last year’s competition due to COVID-19, but this year, the live audience makes a return.

Reigning champion for the men’s competition, Joey Chestnut has prepared for a record 14th title win.

Someone you won’t see on the competition stage? Miki Sudo. She won’t be competing this year as she’s expecting a child with sixth ranked competitor Nicky Wehry, who will be competing.

However, Sudo will be back next year in hopes to earn her eighth title.

In addition to a return of live spectators, many are hoping this year’s contests will send business their way.

COVID-19 protocols will be in place.

While others are just happy to be able to finally get out and enjoy the outdoors.