NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of people showed up to Coney Island to celebrate the Fourth of July on Sunday.

And hundreds also took in the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reported.

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After a soggy Saturday, people were ready to celebrate Independence Day. So, many of them were in a great mood as they marked our country’s birthday with their families and a lot of food.

Beaming with patriotic pride, Coney Island was filled with the thousands of New Yorkers.

“To be able to be here, spend time with my kids and family, this is what it’s all about. It means everything to me,” said Anthony Lugo of Brooklyn.

“It feels great. It feels good. He’s vaccinated. I’m vaccinated. It’s nice to go out and take the mask off, have the kids have a good time,” added Richard McMullen.

That joy and excitement also pulsed in the stands at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Defending champion Joey Chestnut won for the 14th time, and broke his own record, devouring 76 hot dogs and their buns in 10 minutes.

WATCH: One-On-One With Joey Chestnut Moments After Winning Hot Dog Eating Contest

He ate 26 more than the second-place finisher.

“It just felt good,” Chestnut, of Westfield, Indiana, said in an ESPN interview after his win Sunday. “Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good.

“I feel pretty good. I’m bloated, sweaty. I just want to lay down and have some water,” Chestnut added.

Competitive eating champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut wins the 2021 Nathan’s Famous 4th Of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest with 76 hot dogs, breaking his personal best record of 75, at Coney Island on July 4, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio also got into the spirit, wearing a hot dog hat when announcing the winner on the women’s side.

Michelle Lesco, of Tucson, Arizona, downed 30 ¾ dogs in 10 minutes and called her win “an amazing feeling.”

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“I didn’t expect to do as well as I did,” Lesco added.

Reigning women’s champ and record-holder Miki Sudo skipped this year because she’s expecting a baby in a few weeks with fellow competitive eater Nick Wehry. He vied for the men’s title but came up short.

The annual Fourth of July frankfurter fest normally happens outside Nathan’s flagship shop in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood.

But this year’s planning took place amid shifting coronavirus restrictions, and the event was held in a nearby minor league baseball stadium, Maimonides Park, with 5,000 spectators.

Last year, it was held indoors and without an in-person audience because of the pandemic.

Chestnut said he’d missed the fans last year.

Competitive eating champion Michelle Lesco wins the women’s 2021 Nathan’s Famous 4th Of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest with 31 hot dogs at Coney Island on July 4, 2021 in New York City.. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

“I’ve been looking forward to this all year,” he told ESPN in an interview before this year’s competition.

Fans were impressed by the performances.

“It was amazing. I’ve never seen him eat hotdogs that fast and I watch every year,” one person said.

“It’s exciting. We flew from San Jose, which is Joey Chestnut’s home town. We are big fans,” another person said.

“Fourteen championships. Let’s go!” another person said.

Most of the people Dhillon spoke to said what they’re most happy about on this Independence Day is that New York is looking a lot like its old self.

CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSNewYork Team