Weiners, Wheels and Wednesday Concerts

It's not exactly the Gunfight at the OK Corral. But some of the planet's most prodigious consumers of wieners will belly up to the table for a just-past high noon showdown in Market Square on Wednesday to claim bragging rights and a chance to compete in the Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 at New York City's Coney Island. As just one of 13 regional contests in the U.S., this matchup of select super eaters promises to bring out some formidable contenders for the championship belt, which might need to be expanded a few notches.

Photo by Bobby Banks
So here's how it works. Up to 20 contestants —both  men and women — will try to beat the clock and each other by eating as many Nathan's Famous natural casing franks, including buns, in 10 minutes. For stat happy fans, each of the dogs tips the scales at two ounces with the buns weighing in at less than a half-ounce. Just to see what local participants are up against, Joey Chestnut, the current world champ, holds the world record with a gut-busting 68 dogs in 10 minutes. While you don't need to break the current mark to qualify, female contestants need to down at least 10 dogs to qualify. Just in case you think the challenge is tough, keep in mind that the local winners will take home of year's supply of Nathan's hot dogs and receive free airfare and hotel accommodations to take part in the ESPN televised Fourth of July eat off at America's most famous amusement park, where the grand prize is $20,000. And if you're not quite ready to go bun to bun this year with the region's top eaters, you can start training today for 2012 at Pittsburgh's own Nathan's Famous location on the corner of Third Avenue and Wood Street, which happens to be owned and operated by the YWCA. The dogs go down starting at 10 minutes past the stroke of noon.

While hungry competitors prepare for the wiener wars, the friendly folks at the Market Square Merchants Association will start its Mid-Week Music Series in Market Square, sponsored by Star 100.7 with the island infused tunes of the Lincoln Park Steel Drum Band. Every Wednesday through August 24, the Square will be alive with the sound of music from some of the region's top performers. And the beat will go on during the Mellow Monday and Friday Night Live series, too, as the Merchants strike up the bands for more performances in the Square all summer long. Check back here for more info on those events.

Of course, we like to think that the Farmers Market in the Square strikes exactly the right chord every Thursday, with a pitch perfect blend of wholesome foods and music from local talents. As the growing season progresses, look for more farm fresh delectables, free City Paper, and area entertainers to show up as part of our Thursdays in the Square events.

If you're looking for a wheel deal, then pedal your way to Market Square during this week's Farmers Market for a bike-sharing program demonstration by B-cycle. Similar to the Zipcar auto-sharing program already in the city, B-cycle is designed to allow members to borrow and return bikes from designated stations for as little as $5 for 24 hours use. For more information, be sure to catch the B-cycle team from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m this Thursday. If you miss the live demo, check in with the folk at our own Bike Pittsburgh.

More than ever, there's always something happening in the Square. So make sure you check our calendar of events  We'll see you soon in the Square.

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