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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

100 Years of Coney Island


Photo credit: Samantha Whiting

Written by: Samantha WhitingSeptember 25, 2014

Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island had their 100th Anniversary Block Party on Saturday, Sept. 20, which featured a cake, contests, Deer Park Pub Beer Tent and hundreds of coney dogs.

“You can’t separate Fort Wayne and the Coney Island. The people here feel like it is part of them, and that is such an honor to us,” Kathy Choka, owner of Coney Island, said.

The day began with opening ceremonies, including the cutting of a giant cake with hot dog stand themed decorations. Mid-day activities consisted of Best Dressed 1914 Costume contest, trivia, wiener dog dressing contest and the best photograph of 1914. The prize for the winner was a dozen coney island hotdogs.

Coney Island also hosted a hot dog eating contest, which was won by Alex Choinski. He ate 19 hot dogs in 10 minutes, and was given a specialized hot dog crown to wear for the rest of the day.

The Deer Park Pub Beer Tent was geared toward college students and adults. Recent IPFW graduate, Douglas Noble, was helping out Deer Park by serving at a stand, but was still having fun at the same time. When asked what the best part of the day was, Noble answered, “Good food, good beer and good people.”

The beer tent had live music from local artists all throughout the day. Tony Henry, the owner of Deer Park Pub, was very excited to be involved with the block party celebration.

“I was looking forward to seeing the outpouring of Coney Island hot dog lovers, and knowing they’ve been so supportive over the years,” Henry said.

The block party brought out mostly families during the early afternoon, including Fort Wayne resident, Chris Dowty and his family.

“We have two small kids, so it’s good just to hang out with the family,” Dowty said.

If you missed the block party, you may actually have another chance to attend next year. When Kathy Choka was asked about possibly making the block party an annual event she said, “We’re thinking about it! It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love. It’s just a happy event.”