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HOT DOG HAPPENINGS

Indiana is best known for its basketball. For food fame, the Hoosier state claims popcorn has its top commodity. Orville Redenbacher was born in Indiana and began building his popcorn empire here. But in a tiny town about 50 minutes northwest of Indianapolis, its the hot dog thats hip. In what other town than Frankfort, Indiana is the local high school team called the Hot Dogs.

Frankforts hot dog heritage is celebrated each July with its annual Hot Dog Festival, featuring plenty of puns, buns, and a chance to relish relish. The festival is held the last Saturday of July. Activities at the Hot Dog Festival include arfs and crafts booths, plenty of food, entertainment, and a 6-foot tall hot dog mascot that trolls the festival grounds. For more information, visit http://www.accs.net/mainstreet/festival.htm.

HOT DOG TOPPING TRIVIA
From a nationwide survey of Americans about their favorite hot dog toppings come some interesting results. The survey was conducted by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. The top topping was mustard in first with 30 percent. But ketchup came in a surprisingly strong second place, with 25 percent.

FRANKLY BASEBALL
With a strike looming in Major League Baseball, the time to sample the culinary side of Americas past-time may be coming to an early end this summer. The venerable Dodger dog is the most consumed ballyard frank, with close to 1.5 million being consumed by fans each year since 1997. Cleveland overtook Los Angeles during 2001, selling just over 1.5 million, but this year Los Angeles is expected to take the lead again. The sales projections are based on interviews with hot dog suppliers. Overall in ballparks, Americans are expected to down 26 million total dogs this year (barring a strike). Trying to determine which hot dogs are the "best" at ballparks is about as subjective as asking someone what the best topping is, but following is a sampler:

DODGER STADIUM, Los Angeles: Dodger Dog, price $3. This foot-long weiner is a fan favorite. Just dont ask about the new Super Dodger Dogs. The grilled specialty is longer than the buns it's served on.

COMISKEY PARK II, Chicago: For a nice change from regular ballpark dogs, try the popular Polish sausage sandwich for $3.75. Chicagos Comiskey Park neighborhood has the largest Polish population in the world outside Poland, and this sandwich earns the accolades of the locals.

COOPER STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio: Okay, so this is minor-league baseball, and this food feat isnt technically a hot dog, but its close enough. The Columbus Clippers, a AAA Yankee farm team, offers bratwursts known to locals as Bahama Mamas - made locally in Columbus. The juicy brats are $3.75 and are consistently ranked by fans as among the best sandwich of any ballpark in the country, major or minor league.

JACOBS FIELD, Cleveland, Ohio: Best bet, kosher dogs, for $2.50 Just say away from the bottled water at $3.50 a bottle yikes.

METRODOME, Minneapolis: Since the Twins arent much to brag about lately, fans can watch and munch the JumboDog, Major League Baseballs largest hot dog, coming at over 14 of meat for $4.50.

And for those who dont want any meat in their diet, take heart: The Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago White Sox, the Seattle Mariners, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees, the Anaheim Angels and the Cincinnati Reds are doing brisk business with the newly added veggie dogs in their ballparks.