Tonawanda News — Costumed historic characters, hot-dog- (and carrot-) eating contests, music and, of course, fireworks will all be available to residents of the Tonawanda and Kenmore over the next few days as the area gears up for Independence Day Thursday.
• An Independence Day Celebration will be sponsored by the Kenmore Village Improvement Society from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Village Green, Delaware Avenue and Delaware Road. The event will feature costumed historic characters, a bicycle rodeo on a closed-off portion of Delaware Road, crafts, games, music and refreshments, said Melissa Foster, KVIS president.
”We have more games, we have the bike rodeo, we have the historic characters — better historic characters than ever before — we have patriotic music and crafts and free things to give away,” she said. “It’s a wonderful time.”
In the past, the historic characters (depicted by local actors) at the event have included Martha and George Washington, Betsy Ross, Abraham Lincoln, John and Abigail Adams, Paul Revere and Sybil Luddington, Foster said.
”I have never in my lifetime seen a more modern-day Norman Rockwell picture than I have here,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite events of the year.”
• Starting at 2 p.m. Thursday, a Fourth of July hot dog and veggie “Bunny Dog” eating contest will take place at Old Man River Restaurant, 375 Niagara St., City of Tonawanda. Proceeds will benefit North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels, said Dan Wilkins, event promoter.
Things will kick off with small competitions between local dignitaries, including police personnel, for bragging rights, followed by the vegetarian “Bunny Dog” — a marinated, grilled carrot, served on a hot dog roll — contest. The main hot dog contest will feature Sahlen’s hot dogs served served on a bun. Contestants of either event will have 10 minutes to consume as many hot dogs (or carrots) as they can.