Hot dogs, hot music usher in July 4 weekend
As the nation gears up to celebrate America's birthday, here are some Fourth of July highlights from around the country:
NATHAN'S HOT DOG EATING CONTEST
Competitive eaters have weighed in and are ready for Saturday's annual hot dog eating contest in New York at Coney Island's Nathan's Famous.
Four past winners hit the scales Friday and reigning champion Joey Chestnut is the heaviest at 230 pounds. Repeat runner-up Tim Janus is at 165 pounds.
Michelle Lesco is the lightest contestant at 112 pounds at the 99-year-old Independence Day boardwalk tradition while New Zealand native Nela Zissler is at 114 pounds.
Chestnut broke a world record in 2013 when he scoffed down 69 soggy dogs in just 10 minutes. He won last year's contest with 61 for his eighth victory.
Former champion Takeru Kobayashi is in this year's contest.
The event also featured the ceremonial stare down between competitors.
More than 30,000 are expected to witness the feeding frenzy.
BOSTON POPS FEATURE 42ND SHOW
Boston gospel singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson will perform the national anthem as Keith Lockhart celebrates his 20th year as conductor for the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on Saturday.
The star-studded event is held at the DCR Hatch Cell in the city's Back Bay off the Charles River Esplanade and will also feature Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh, "American Idol" finalist Melinda Doolittle and "America's Got Talent" finalist Sons of Serendip, a quartet who met at Boston University.
Drum and bugle corps the Boston Crusaders and the USO Show Troupe will also perform.
Events, which are televised and broadcast live in Boston, begin at 8 p.m. Fireworks start at 10:30 p.m.
The Boston Pops also performed Friday night.