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Dole Food Co. this fall unveils the "Win a Trip to Outer Space From Dole" sweepstakes, offering a grand prize of a seven-day astronaut training program culminating in a flight into space aboard the Vela Technology Space Cruiser. The winner will go beyond the stratosphere to experience weightlessness in what's billed as the world's first commercial space passenger vehicle, created by Zegrahm Space Voyages, a partner in the promotion. A national free-standing insert drops Nov. 7, inviting consumers to visit for details. Additional support includes a national spot TV commercial via Flair Communications, Chicago; in-store displays; and collectible space-theme stickers on more than 100 million Dole bananas. The winner will be named in March 2000, and the flight will blast off in late 2002.

Discovery Channel inked first-time official supplier sponsorship deals with Aerolineas Argentinas, Sony Electronics and inflatable kayak marketer Sotar for its fourth annual Discovery Channel Eco-Challenge event. The Eco-Challenge is set for Dec. 1-12 in the Patagonia region of Argentina, where competitors will climb, hike, kayak and ride horseback through the Andes Mountains. Columbia Sportswear returns as the event's official apparel sponsor. Telecast sponsors of the event, set to air in April, include American Isuzu Motors and Yahoo!

Val-Pak Direct Marketing Systems, Largo, Fla., is offering its first-ever holiday instant-win promotion, giving $100 checks to 1,200 recipients of its coupon mailings this fall. One in 50,000 coupon envelopes mailed will have a check inside, payable to the bearer. Those who don't win a check are invited to enter an online sweepstakes to win cash and prizes at

Petty Enterprises, General Mills and Clorox Co.'s STP unveiled the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Pontiac and the No. 43 STP Pontiac race cars that will compete in the Nascar Winston Cup circuit next year. General Mills' motorsports division developed a car for Pop Secret popcorn last year, accompanied by a

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