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Festival celebrates winter

February 17, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Despite a few inches of real snow, organizers of the second annual Hancock Winter Festival were grateful for 300 tons of artificial snow made during the week.

Organizers were consulting the almanac and The Weather Channel trying to determine what Mother Nature would deliver after warm weather greeted the inaugural event last year.

"This is perfect," declared Hancock Mayor Dan Murphy at Widmeyer Memorial Park.

The real snow provided a picture postcard setting, while the 14-foot deep-by-100-foot across mound of artificial snow provided the goods for a lively snow sculpture contest and a base for a community tug-of-war.

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Contestants used shovels, buckets, sleds, a bin, a wheelbarrow and a large trash can to haul snow from the mound to their sculpting sites.

Joe Walls, 35, of Sideling Hill and his brother-in-law, Billy Burkett, helped each other haul snow in a huge trash can to their sculpting sites.

Wall's daughter, Kaylyn, 8, and her schoolmates planned to sculpt a dog while Burkett's daughter, Jenna Burkett, was going to create a snowy SpongeBob SquarePants.

When Jenna's full team didn't show up, she and classmate Tiffany Stotler decided to sculpt a skunk because it is the favorite animal of their Hancock Elementary fifth-grade teacher, "Miss Chaney," said Jenna's mother, Gina Burkett.

The Vann family of Hancock was packing a large square pile of snow together to carve Castle Grayskull from the television cartoon show "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." Once complete, the castle would have four towers and a skull whose mouth would form the entrance to the castle, said Andrew Vann, 26.

Jennifer Barrick, 31, of Frederick, Md., was busy working on a giant egg that would later have a dragon or dinosaur head emerging from it. She was assisted by her daughter, Logan, 5, and her mother, Donna Logan.

Donna Logan said her daughter is probably a big dragon fan from her days as a child playing "Dungeons & Dragons."

Logan, wife of Town Manager Larry Logan, was using a fork to pick out pieces of hay "because natural eggs don't have hay in them."

Mike Keefer and his family began sculpting a dog. Keefer, 32, of Hancock, ended up transforming his dog into a cute lamb.

The St. Thomas' Episcopal Church youth group was building a space shuttle as a tribute to Columbia, said Anne Weatherholt. The group periodically looked at a graphic of the space shuttle in a newsmagazine to make sure their design was accurate.

Some youths were working intensely on their sculptures, but several of the younger children went from being good little helpers to wandering off in the snow to play or became supervisors.

It wasn't all about the snow.

Surrounded by snow and brisk air, Dave Hott was quite the sight with an apron, a large plastic spoon, three bottles of water and a fire extinguisher secured to his apron.

"I didn't want to burn up," said Hott, chief snowmaker and chief judge of the festival's first chili contest.

Hott, 58, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said his friends would probably make the chili too hot for him so he brought his brother, who knows first aid.

The festival was sponsored by the Arts Council of Hancock. Whitetail Ski Resort provided the snowmaking machine.

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