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'King Kielbasa' unveiled

CHICOPEE, Mass. -- A 242-pound, 25-foot 10-inch Polish sausage billed as the world's largest kielbasa was unveiled Wednesday as the main attraction of the 11th Annual World Kielbasa Festival.

'It's gigantic,' said Edward J. Budarz of Chicopee Provision Inc., which made the sausage for the four day festival of eating, polka dancing and beer drinking opening Thursday.

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'We call it the 'King Kielbasa.' It's unreal.'

About 10 employees worked more than eight hours to make the sausage, which cost about $500, could feed 400 people in 8-ounce servings and is 6 pounds heavier and 6 inches longer than last year's biggie, Budarz said.

'They just keep getting bigger and bigger, that's the idea,' he said.

The company has been making the kielbasa since the festival began in 1974 to boost tourism in the western Massachusetts city of about 55,000, which has a large Polish population and calls itself the Kielbasa Capital of the World.

The kielbasa is made with a thin casing of cow intestines sewn together with cotton thread, which is stuffed with a mixture of chopped pork and spices then smoked.

'It's kind of tricky to make. The shell could break at any time. It's not easy,' Budarz said.

The giant one will be displayed in a special refrigerated fiberglass case covered with glass -- under 24-hour guard to prevent theft.

The festival, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and expected to draw 100,000 people, includes Polish food and music and contests, including a kielbasa-eating contest.

As in past years, this year's giant kielbasa will be donatedto charity.

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