Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! Bring Ready. Set. PLAY. Program to Charlotte

NASCAR Driver Aric Almirola Makes Surprise Appearance at Coney Island-Themed Event

Select Students to Win Tickets to Coca-Cola® 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

May 22, 2014, 16:00 ET from Nathan’s Famous

LISLE, Ill., May 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The students of Sugar Creek Charter School and local community enjoyed an afternoon of carnival-like fun on Wednesday thanks to Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM!. The world famous hot dog company and the national non-profit organization honored the Charlotte, N.C., school with the fun event as part of their new program Ready. Set. PLAY. which celebrates play and the "playmakers" who are making play possible in communities around the country.

Sugar Creek Charter School, a previous recipient of a KaBOOM! playground build, was chosen for its commitment to promoting and protecting play for the students and the surrounding community. Nathan's and KaBOOM! will stage similar events as part of Ready. Set. PLAY. to honor schools like Sugar Creek in other locations and to further encourage activities that promote active play as a part of healthy development of children.

Wednesday's event featured not only a taste of Nathan's Famous Premium Beef Franks but authentic Coney Island fun with interactive games and activities such as a Zoltar® Fortune Teller machine, mechanical pony ride, claw game with giveaways, and a photo booth. Students and community attendees were also surprised with a visit by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola. The driver, who pilots the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, pulled up to the event in a No. 43 Nathan's show car and spent time signing autographs and meeting all the guests.

"Ready. Set. PLAY. is a great program that Nathan's and KaBOOM! have created and I am honored to be a part of the event here at Sugar Creek," said Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. "I am a father of two little ones so I understand the importance for them to be outside and active as they develop and grow. Anything I can do to support this cause means a lot."

"We are really excited to work with KaBOOM! and are proud to honor those working to make active play an important part of the lives of children and communities around the country," said Mike Paribello, senior director of marketing for the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods and licensing partner of Nathan's Famous. "Nathan's is all about fun, family and community so being able to give back to the community, to schools like Sugar Creek, with a fun-filled night means a lot to all of us."

"The fundamentals of healthy, active lifestyles begin at home with our parents and in our communities," said KaBOOM! CEO and Founder Darell Hammond. "With support from Nathan's Famous through Ready. Set. Play., we are able to bring play opportunities to communities across the nation and inspire families to participate and incorporate play with their everyday lives." 

Leading into the event, Sugar Creek students were encouraged to participate in an essay contest "What Does Play Mean to Me." Four students were chosen from their submissions and awarded tickets to the Coca-Cola® 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 25.

"Play is essential to the holistic development of our children and provides for greater avenues of learning, socialization, and cooperation that can be lacking in a traditional classroom setting," said Marcus Duffin, Director of After School Activities at Sugar Creek Charter School. "Here at Sugar Creek Charter School, we see play as a vital conduit for student expression and release."

For more information, please visit Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! online.

About Nathan's
Nathans products are currently distributed in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands and six foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities.  The Nathans restaurants system currently consists of over 320 units, comprised of more than 315 franchised units and five company-owned units (including one seasonal unit).  Additionally, Nathan's Famous hot dogs are sold in over 25,000 retail and foodservice locations.  Last year, in total, over 430 million Nathan's hot dogs were sold.  For additional information about Nathan's please visit our website

About John Morrell Food Group
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat products to families across the United States. With products ranging from lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell Food Group is an important part of consumers' mealtimes. The John Morrell Food Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour®, Eckrich®, John Morrell®, Curly's®, Patrick Cudahy®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Margherita® Kretschmar® and LunchMakers®.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $14 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®, Kretschmar®, Curly's®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit and

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to the bold new goal of ensuring that all children, particularly the 16 million American children living in poverty, get the balance of active  play they need to become healthy and successful adults. KaBOOM! has been a powerful champion for play since its founding in 1996, working with partners to build, improve and open more than 15,000 playgrounds, engage more than 1,000,000 volunteers and serve  more than 6,600,000 children. KaBOOM! creates and catalyzes great places to play, inspires, empowers and leads play advocates, and educates and elevates the societal conversation about the importance of play in children's lives. For more information, visit or follow the conversation on why #playmatters at or

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SOURCE Nathan’s Famous