Did you know Clinton County hosts the oldest Hot Dog Festival in the country?

Frankfort Main Street founder, Fred Carter,introduced the July tradition of the annual Frankfort Hot Dog Festival in 1985 while he was president of the then newly formed downtown revitalization organization. The annual event continues to this day, serving as a fundraiser for Frankfort Main Street and its efforts to preserve and develop historic downtown Frankfort.


Even as late as 2006, The Taste of the Midwest (Globe Pequot, 2006) called Frankfort’s annual event “the world’s only Hot Dog Festival,” though apparently Huntington, West Virginia, started their annual celebration the year before in 2005. Now there are several similar (and newer) festivals throughout the country, including those in Chicago (started in 2012); Dexter, Maine (2016); Visalia, Calif. (2009); and Kansas City, Missouri (2013).

While a hotdog festival may seem like a novelty in other parts of the country, the Clinton County celebration is a nod to the 186-year history of our county seat, which was named after Frankfurt, Germany, the home of the great-grandparents of John Pence, who donated 60 acres of his land to help form the city of Frankfort in 1830, and the home of the Frankfurter Würstchen, a small sausage made with pork similar to the American Frankfurter hotdog many will enjoy next weekend.

Frankfort’s 2016 Hot Dog Festival begins at 11 a.m. Friday, July 29, 2016. What better way to celebrate these Dog Days of Summer than by enjoying a ‘dog or two with friends on the courthouse lawn? I’ll take mine with ketchup.

Originally published at Clinton County Daily News on July 23, 2016.