Locals whose Fourth of July plans don’t already include overstuffed picnic baskets or cookouts with friends will have plenty of other food and drink options to choose from this holiday as Asheville’s restaurants and bars get set to celebrate with everything from wieners to watermelon-mint cider.
Those who are really, really hungry can fill up at Thirsty Monk’s Hot Dog Eating Competition on Friday, July 4. The contest is happening at 5 p.m. at both the Monk’s Biltmore Park and Reynolds Park locations, with a cash prize of $100 and a framed Gold Weiner Winner certificate going to one hardy soul who can ingest the greatest number of hot dogs (with buns) during the 5-minute time limit.
Guests can also indulge in plenty of other wiener-themed games, including a hot dog toss, pin the wiener on the bun and find the condiments. There is no need for non-meat eaters to feel left out: Veggie dogs are available. Competitors need to register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, noting which location they will be at and whether they will require veggie or regular dogs. Competitors should bring a donation to benefit the Asheville Humane Society.
If patio grilling and a pool party sounds more your speed, Ben’s Tune-Up is celebrating with the Wet Hot Ben’s American Summer Fourth of July Party. Starting at 11:30 a.m., there will be barbecue grilling and an outdoor pool party featuring local celebrities, sprinklers and fireworks. A Swimsuit Dance Party featuring DJ Kipper starts at dark, and guests can check out the fireworks from the Asheville Tourists game from Ben’s back picnic tables.
The Junction is planning a Fourth of July Pig Pickin’ starting at 3 p.m. Featuring Apple Brandy Farms pork and a selection of traditional, all-vegetarian side items. Local beer and cocktails will be available. Cost is $25 per plate for adults, $15 per plate for ages 12 and younger. Reservations are suggested. Call 225-3497.
The Odditorium’s Fourth of July Party will feature a pig roast, a Gender Neutral Wet Clothes Contest and kiddie pool fun, all starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Asheville food trucks The Lowdown and Mama Dukes Wood Fired Pizza will both be serving up eats to go along with the beer in the meadow at Highland Brewing Tasting Room 4-8 p.m. on July 4. The Asheville Jazz Orchestra will be cranking out some patriotic tunes starting at 5:30 p.m. Admission to Highland’s meadow is free.
On the east side of town, The Social, already known for their bacon-wrapped tater bites on a stick, will make deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dogs for the occasion starting at 11:30 a.m. The 1/4-pound, all-beef natural dogs will be topped with homemade slaw and locally made Mountain Man Mustard barbecue sauce. Fireball cinnamon whiskey shots will be $3, and the Jarvis Jenkins Band will perform 9 p.m.-midnight.
Green River Picklers will bring their Brews and Brines series downtown to Hi-Wire Brewing Co. 4-8 p.m to offer five different beer and pickle pairings — basically, a flight of pickles accompanied by a flight of beer.
Finally, Urban Orchard plans to release its summery watermelon-mint cider on July 4. Hours are noon-midnight.