Fruitcake Eating Contest

The IFOCE will travel to Buffalo in late December with a daunting mandate: consume all the uneaten fruitcakes in the United States.

A group of businesses in Buffalo have launched a nationwide Fruitcake Amnesty Campaign as a public service to collect and consume all uneaten fruitcakes -- those that are languishing in cupboards or which have suffered the indignity of "re-gifting."

All fruitcakes will be consumed in a first-ever 12-minute fruitcake-eating contest on December 30, erasing any guilt the original fruitcake recipients may have felt and enabling the nation to start fresh in 2004, unhindered by fruitcakes of the past.

The Fruitcake Amnesty Campaign is part of Buffalo.s New Year.s Celebration. The New Year.s Eve ball drop in Buffalo was threatened by funding difficulties this year until a grass-roots campaign led by Drew Cerza (founder of the National Buffalo Wing Festival) saved the celebration.

Cerza and Buffalo business groups decided to take the holiday spirit one step further, providing a public service to the recipients of fruitcakes, a population that has suffered silently for decades under the burden of uneaten fruitcakes. The fruitcake eating contest will kick off the Buffalo New Year.s Celebration that culminates in the ball drop in downtown Buffalo.

.This effort will bring much-needed culinary closure to this year while helping us to kick off the nation.s finest New Year.s celebration,. said Cerza. .We also believe that by eliminating the existing inventory of fruitcakes we can jumpstart the fruitcake industry and, in turn, push the economy into high gear..

Cerza helped raise nearly $50,000 to save the celebration that attracts some 20,000 people each year. The New Year's Eve event begins at 10:30 with live music and ends with a ball drop at the Niagara Mohawk building. Fireworks begin at midnight.

Those wishing to send in uneaten fruitcakes may mail them to the Fruitcake Amnesty Campaign, Food Bank of Western New York, 91 Holt Street, Buffalo, NY 14206-2206.