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Hancock Fireworks Festival nearly fizzles under intense heat

August 17, 1997

Hancock Fireworks Festival nearly fizzles under intense heat

Chilled water a hot commodity

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

HANCOCK - The second annual Hancock Fireworks Festival in Widmyer Park Saturday was all fire and not much festival as triple-digit temperatures sent vendors and festival attendees packing.

About two-thirds of the vendors didn't bother to show, said disappointed organizer Pat Hixon. Hixon said that's one of the perils when you have to pick the date a year in advance.

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"It's just been a miserable day," said her husband and fellow organizer, Steve.

Bands played to sparse audiences, and the vendors who did show up spent more time twiddling their thumbs and catching up on their reading than selling.

It was a different story at the pool in the park, which was packed wall-to-wall with people looking for a break from the oppressive heat.

The few hundred hardy souls who did show up during the day were able to partake in all the usual trappings - hot dogs, burgers, Italian sausage and peach cobbler, but chilled spring water proved the most popular. Also, shoppers were treated to a number of specials and sidewalk sales on Main Street. People were also given horse-drawn carriage rides between the park and downtown.

The Hancock Fire Department helped create a spark of excitement in the afternoon when they torched a station wagon as 100 people or so looked on. After a fire engine came screaming into the park, firefighters put the fire out as a demonstration and training exercise.

Residents were also able to have a variety of health checks performed by the Washington County Health Department at the old Hancock War Memorial Library building.

After a slow start, the day did end with a bang.

The crowds started to come in after the sun went down, said Police Chief Donald Gossage. Gossage estimated 2,000 people watched the fireworks from the park.

Also, 125 motorcycles paraded through town at about 6 p.m., Gossage said. Two hundred motorcycles had been expected but the heat was blamed for the lower number.

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