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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Old Falls Street is stage for tamale-eating contest

NIAGARA FALLS -- No. 1-ranked professional competitive eater Eric "Silo" Dahl will take on local entrants in the National Chicken Tamale Eating Championship, set for 8:15 p.m. today on Old Falls Street.

The event, sponsored by Legends Bar & Grill, is part of a Cinco de Mayo block party from 6 to 9 p.m. on the middle block of Old Falls Street.

All Pro Eating promotions has sanctioned the tamale tournament. There's a purse of $1,200, with first prize set at $600. The winner will be deemed to have set a national chicken tamale eating record. The event is open to anyone who wants to compete.

Dahl, of the University of Wisconsin, set a world record in Clarence last October by eating 27 pieces of pumpkin pie in eight minutes without using his hands.

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Give for Greatness campaign feted at Burchfield Penney

Give for Greatness, which raises funds for arts and cultural organizations in Western New York, will conclude its 2012 campaign with its second annual Fiesta for the Arts: Booming Buffalo, from 3 to 10 p.m. today at Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. A $5 donation is suggested.

The program will include dance performances by LehrerDance, Habit Dance, the Mone' Dance Company, Aaron Water and Amy Taravella. Providing music will be Andrew J. Reimers and the Country Punk Extravaganza, On the Sly, the Eric Van Houten Band, the Buffalo Soundpainting Ensemble, Unit III, the Rockaz, Like a Panther, Clandestina y la Raza Cosmica, the Mustn'ts, DJ Cutler, Jen Whitmore, Brandon Barry, Joe Donohue and Matt Hayden.

There also will be a special performance by the band from the Alt Theatre production of the musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," featuring vocalist and actress Loraine O'Donnell and the band BillyDraws2. Peace of the City, a non-profit theatrical group working with West Side youth, also will give a performance.

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End-of-tour ceremony set at Falls Air Reserve Station

NIAGARA FALLS -- Five Bronze Star medals will be among decorations awarded to members of the 1982nd Forward Surgical Team of the Army Reserve during an end-of-tour ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

The team returned home in November after a 12-month deployment to the eastern region of Afghanistan. Among other awards to be presented for the unit's service during Operation Enduring Freedom will be 10 Army Commendation Medals, 15 Combat Action Badges, NATO Awards and Afghan Campaign Medals.

Col. Tracy Smith, hospital commander of the 865th Combat Support Hospital, will present the awards. Bronze Star recipients are the team's commander, Col. Kurt Vonfricken of Elma, a cardio-thoracic surgeon; the detachment sergeant, SFC David J. Shenk of Boston, N.Y., Erie County comptroller; executive officer, Capt. Terence Ruh of Amherst, Erie 1 BOCES vice principal; Capt. Bryan Hall of Lewiston, a registered nurse at Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Capt. Timothy Giglio, Depew, registered nurse at Buffalo General Hospital.