Thomas Wins by a Bite

Sonya Thomas won the first-ever fruitcake-eating contest by a bite -- 1/8th of an ounce to be specific.

Thomas beat Eric Badlands Booker, Jim Reeves and other top-ranked competitive eaters at Buffalo.s Ellicott Square Building for the first-ever IFOCE-sanctioned fruitcake-eating contest.

Thomas consumed four pounds 14 1/4 ounces in 10 minutes while Booker consumed four pounds 14 1/8 ounces. Buffalo resident Jim reeves placed third with two pounds two ounces.

The event, hosted by local businessman Drew Cerza, launches Buffalo.s recently saved New Year.s Eve celebration, which will culminate with a New Year.s Eve ball drop in Downtown Buffalo. The city.s annual New Year.s Eve ball drop in Buffalo was threatened this year by funding difficulties until a grass-roots campaign saved the celebration.

The 10-minute fruitcake-eating contest was overseen by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). The IFOCE was enlisted to help consume the collection of fruitcake from the first Fruitcake Amnesty Campaign, a nationwide public service to collect and consume unwanted and uneaten fruitcakes from recent holiday seasons. Fruitcake recipients from throughout the United States mailed their unopened, uneaten fruitcakes to the Food Bank of Western New York in Buffalo. The Food Bank distributed dozens of fruitcakes to families and institutions throughout the region.

The amnesty initiative highlighted a holiday food drive for the Food Bank of Western New York, which services more than 100,000 needy people per month through 500 local food organizations. The Food Bank, which has seen hunger demand increase by a shocking 23 percent this year, collected and donated food for the needy during this holiday season.

.Eating leftover fruitcakes in a 10-minute contest will help us start the New Year fresh,. said Drew Cerza, who helped organize the effort to save the New Year.s celebration. Cerza helped raise nearly $50,000 to save Buffalo.s celebration that attracts some 20,000 people each year.

The New Year's Eve event begins at 11 PM in downtown Buffalo with live music and ends with a ball drop at the Niagara Mohawk building at midnight followed by fireworks.