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Weather only bad apple at Hancock festival

September 14, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

It rained on Hancock's parade Saturday, toward the end. And it rained on the town's 27th Canal Apple Days festival afterward.

But, the rain didn't dampen the spirits of the organizers or the many people who surprised event chairman Fran Shives by showing up and sticking around despite the drizzly day.

Of the 85 registered vendors, only four didn't show up.

"That's not bad. In my opinion, that's darn good," said Shives, president of the sponsoring Hancock Lions Club.

Anyone standing by the apple grinder could have gotten the rainwater confused with apple juice spraying out of the old contraption. A putt-putt engine from around 1900 hit and miss as it powered a wide belt around the grinder.

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The grinder crushed golden and red delicious apples so mushy pieces fell into a wooden bucket. Then Scott Creek, 42, used a wooden pole through a metal wheel to turn a big screw that pushed the wooden press into the bucket of apple pieces, squeezing out juice.

The juice ran into a metal tub. Then Creek's daughter, Ashley, 16, of Hancock, scooped the juice up in a metal cup and poured it through cheesecloth into 1-gallon containers for sale.

"You can heat it. Some people heat it for Halloween. Most people just drink it raw," said Walt "Bud" Dyer, a member of the Lions Club.

The deer get what's left of the apples, said Dyer, 70, who lives just north of the Pennsylvania line.

Parade chairman Frank Stotler said 69 of the 97 registered bands, floats and other parade units showed up. Spectators were scattered along the parade route, he said.

Colin Kelly, 6, marched in front of Hancock Cub Scout Pack 15's float, which won first place in the float category, said his mother, Anita Kelly, 40, of Hancock.

The pack also had a booth where people could throw darts or try to circle 2-liter soda bottles with Aerobies to win a prize.

Casey Butts, 11, of Hancock, missed out on the soda, but played darts well enough to win a rainbow-colored bracelet. Her sister, Miranda Smith, 6, won a water gun playing darts.

Both the girls got their hair painted. Casey chose a lime green, while Miranda's hair was awash in red, purple, green and pink.

While the kids played with new toys such as a marshmallow gun, a bow made of colored sponge and pipe, and a squeezable water ball that bounced up and down like a Yo-yo, some older festival-goers enjoyed more traditional treats.

Larry Riggleman, 42, of Clear Spring, bought a Christmas gift for his wife and an apple dumpling for his mother.

The Ladies of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Hancock made 4,100 apple dumplings for Hancock Canal Apple Days this year after selling out on Saturday last year with 3,500 dumplings, said Bob Crouse.

It took three days to make the dumplings, said Pam McCusker.

Across Widmyer Memorial Park, Piney Plains United Methodist Women were selling apple dumplings, fruit pies, cookies, brownies and zucchini bread.

"We're doing good. Even with the rain. I'm surprised," said Phyllis Norris, of Little Orleans, Md. Norris said everything was selling well, including the bean soup and sloppy Joes.

Besides the food, there were several craft vendors.

Linda Barnes, the Grandma of Grandma's Crafts, had sold out of her marshmallow guns and already had orders to fill for people returning Sunday.

Other vendors included a man from New Hampshire selling dolls sculpted from clay and a woman from Frostburg, Md., selling macram hammock swings and wooden carvings. Her wood carvings included tropical fish painted in bright colors.

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