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Buffalo loses pierogi title to Binghamton

Buffalo's efforts to retain the title of national pierogi capital fell short by a scoop of sauerkraut -- or perhaps a dollop of farmer's cheese.

Mrs. T's Pierogies, a Pennsylvania-based food manufacturer, Wednesday named Binghamton this year's "Capital of the Pierogi Pocket."

The Southern Tier city of about 45,000 people beat both Buffalo and the Town of Lancaster in expressing the most fervent appreciation of the delectable Polish dumplings. Clifton, N.J., and Whiting, Ind., also were in the running.

Neither a letter of support from Sen. Hillary R. Clinton nor the establishment of a "pierogi hotline" for Buffalonians could overcome a surge of online votes in favor of Binghamton, which won on the strength of its "I Love Pirohi" bumper sticker campaign and petitions drive.

"The competition was better this year," said Andy Golebiowski, president of the parish council of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, which led the drive for back-to-back pierogi championships.

A team of judges examined materials from each locality and considered online balloting from across the nation. About 62,000 ballots were cast over three weeks.

No information was available on whether Lancaster's entry into the race helped split the vote and put Binghamton over the top.

Binghamton received $10,000 from Mrs. T's to use toward the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, which annually distributes 2 million pounds of food to district pantries.

Last year, Mayor Byron W. Brown accepted the award and a $10,000 check from Mrs. T's to support cultural heritage and tourism efforts, the Police Athletic League and Sister Cities projects.

The city's campaign included "Buffalo's Biggest Pierogi Party" in September at Corpus Christi Church and an assist from graphic design students at City Honors High School who created an ad campaign.

It was not all for naught.

Buffalo won honorable mention and $1,000, which will be used for the parish nurse ministry program at Corpus Christi in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

e-mail: jtokasz@buffnews.com

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