Snow a no-show at event

February 13, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

HANCOCK - Stephanie Vera, 13, and her friends came to the Hancock Winter Festival from Damascus, Md., an hour-and-45-minute drive, to build a sculpture in snow of their United Methodist church.

When temperatures are too warm for snow, as they were Saturday in Hancock, one has to improvise.

Organizers of the annual event, forced to hold their winter festival in springlike weather, trucked in white sand and urged the artists to do their best in the substitute medium.

"We're happy anyway," said Vera's friend, Kirstin Dantzler, 14, of the sandy church and cross-topped steeple. "It still looks like our church."


Brandy Buss and her crew, who work at McDonald's in nearby Berkeley Springs, W.Va., built a Big Mac and cup of soda in sand.

"This stuff is hard to work with," Buss said.

Nearby, Kelly Riffle, 15, Jennifer Buss, 16, and Destiny Heath, 8, seemed undaunted by the new challenge. Their three pyramids boasted the distinction of having water running through them via a piping system made of drinking straws.

Catherine Coffman started out making a person from her pile of sand, but ended up with a large bunny rabbit. Her son, Christopher, found his art in the giant pile of sand nearby

Mercedes Mills, 9, and her sister, Victoria, 10, of Hancock, were busy smoothing the edges of the dragon they were making. Mercedes got the idea for the subject off the Internet.

The warmer temperatures kept Terry Morse working faster on the large block of ice he was chiseling into a sculpture representing a New Zealand Maori carving of a pendant signifying eternity and friendship.

Morse's effort was the first ice sculpture for the festival, said Suzanne Edwards, co-chairperson of the event.

She said in past years, the festival made snow with a machine donated by Whitetail Mountain Resort in Mercersburg, Pa. It wasn't brought in Saturday because of the uncooperative weather.

Also canceled was a snowshoe shuffle in which contestants were to compete on hand-made snowshoes, Edwards said.

"We're making things up as we go this year," said Mike Kligerman, who entertained patrons on his guitar.

Other music was provided by the Tri-State Civic Band.

Another highlight of the day was Jim Beeler's bean soup. Its only ingredients are country ham, great Northern beans and "rivlet" noodles. Beeler has been making the recipe for 50 years.

He and fellow members of the Hancock Lions Club served up hamburgers, hot dogs and vegetable soup.

Another major food event was the Chili Cook-Off.

Twenty-one amateur chefs prepared their zingy recipes for the competition. The results were taste-tested by a panel of six judges who volunteered for the duty.

Bob Hargett took first place, while Monica Hepburn finished second and Mickey Thompson was third. Kligerman won for the best vegetarian chili.

Thompson also won the best competition prize, which enables him to travel to Frostburg, Md., later this year to compete in the International Chili Cook-Off Society contest, said Dave Hott, chairman of the chili contest.

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