Emma Wright/ Photo Editor

Only five days are left to vote for Binghamton as the capital of pierogies for 2008.

Log on to pierogypocket.com to vote now and once a day through Tuesday, Oct. 23, in Mrs. T’s second annual ‘Capital of the Pierogy Pocket of America’ contest.

The city is one of five finalists in the competition that spans across the ‘Pierogy Pocket,’ an area in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest where pierogy consumption is highest.

Pierogies are crescent-shaped dough dumplings stuffed with mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion, meat, sauerkraut, cheese or any combination thereof. The pockets, which are of Eastern European origin, were first a family food among immigrants in the United States. But as immigrants spread out across the region, so did pierogy consumption.

Mrs. T’s, a Pennsylvania-based company that makes pierogies and distributes them nationwide, will award the winning city with $10,000 for a local charitable endeavor. If Binghamton wins, the city will give the money to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse of the Broome County Council of Churches.

The city’s nomination is largely due to the efforts of Binghamton’s Rev. Stephen Dutko and the St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Clinton Street.

Since 1964, Dutko, 90, has led the church in selling pierogies on Fridays during the spring Lenten season. Mayor Matt Ryan recognized Dutko, pastor emeritus of the church, as ‘Pirohi King’ in September.

The church submitted a nomination petition with 1,000 signatures, a mayoral proclamation, photographs, archived video-clips and news articles about the church’s pierogies and other documents.

Rev. James Dutko, pastor of St. Michael’s and son of Stephen Dutko, said he hopes the competition will raise ‘appreciation for all the foods that make up the fabric of yearly celebration in Binghamton.’

In addition to the annual pierogy sale, Binghamton is home to an annual Greek festival, St. Patrick’s Day celebration and a rally for Italian-originated spiedies.

‘In some ways food tends to draw people together,’ Dutko said. ‘You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy spaghetti and you don’t have to have Slavic roots to love pierogies.’

The other finalists include Clifton, N.J.; Lancaster, N.Y.; Whiting, Ind.; and current title-owner Buffalo, N.Y.