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Chili in forecast for Winter Festival

February 12, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - A Chili Bowl Cook-Off will be held Saturday at Hancock's Third Annual Winter Festival at Widmeyer Park.

Dave Hott, an organizer of the contest, said entries can be hot or mild, vegetarian, with or without beans, or "other." He said prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place.

Cash prizes will be awarded this year for the first time, he said.

Last year, there were nine entrants in the first chili bowl cook-off held in conjunction with the festival. By mid-January this year, six people had signed up and more were expected.

Hott said each entrant needs a $5 entry fee and five quarts of chili in a crock pot, hot and ready to judge. Registration begins at 10:45 a.m. at the Hancock Lions Club pavilion in Widmeyer Park, which is the hub of festival activities starting at 10 a.m.

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Judging is at 11 a.m. with the presentation of awards to follow. Festival-goers will get the opportunity to sample the chili entries for a fee.

The Hancock Lions Club also will serve a variety of foods and beverages, and there will be funnel cakes made by the Hancock Presbyterian women.

To enter the chili cook-off in advance, contact Hott at 301-678-6026 during the day or at 304-258-5630 during the evening.

A tea party and art exhibit sponsored by the Hancock Senior Center is scheduled at the Hancock Library at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the festival.

A new feature this year is the hat contest, which begins at noon. Prizes will be awarded in a number of categories.

Sinclair Hamilton, co-chair of the festival, said the other major event Saturday will be the snow sculpture competition, which has been a tradition since the festival was begun three years ago by the Hancock Arts Council.

"The whole thing was really Hope Cucina's idea, and she has co-chaired the festival ever since, including this year," Hamilton said.

An artist who hails from the Washington area, Hamilton lives and has his sculpture studio in the old bank building at 24 W. Main St. in Hancock. A mother and child sculpture he's working on for the town veteran park is prominent in the studio.

Weather is a major factor for festival organizers. Hamilton said everyone is hoping either for snow or, at least, temperatures cold enough so snow can be made.

"Last year and again this year, we will be making snow with a machine on loan from Whitetail Ski Resort," Hamilton said.

A special generator is used to power the machine, which draws its water from the town's water connections in the park.

Live music will be provided by the Tri-State Civic Band, the Hancock High School Band and guitarist Mike Kligerman who is a member of the Arts Council.

Kligerman came to the Hancock area - nearby Fulton County, Pa. - several years ago and got involved in town activities.

Hamilton said there will be T-shirts for sale at the festival and knit hats made by Ellen Simon.

The Hancock Police Department will lend its rope for the "snow tug" and its radar gun for the snowball tossing contest, Cucina said.

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