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North Tonawanda's traditional nickname is "Lumber City," but there hasn't been much chopping and sawing going on there for decades. Now the city is in the running for a more contemporary sobriquet:

Big Mac Capital of America.

McDonald's Corp. says North Tonawanda, along with Shamokin Dam, Pa.; Garrison, Minn., and Chowchilla, Calif., are contenders for the title, based on per-capita consumption of Big Macs.

The winner will be announced early next month, coinciding with the 30th birthday of the signature sandwich.

There are two McDonald's restaurants in North Tonawanda -- one at 315 Meadow Drive and one at 3120 Niagara Falls Blvd. -- but you won't boost the city's chances by driving over to one of them and chowing down. The relevant data has already been collected from August 1997 to July 1998, and all that's left is the analysis, McDonald's says.

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