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Winter festival organizers ensure show goes on

February 12, 2006|By ROBERT SNYDER


The absence of snow didn't diminish the spirits of Hancock residents during their annual winter festival Saturday in Widmeyer Park.

They've gotten used to it, actually.

Now in its fifth year, organizers from the Hancock Arts Council have resorted in past years to making snow with a snow-making machine donated by Whitetail Mountain Resort for the yearly snow sculpture contest .

"We've had less than adequate conditions to make snow," said Hancock Mayor Dan Murphy, who was bundled up in a long coat and cap.


Murphy, who served as the festival's emcee, said organizers consult the Farmer's Almanack ahead of scheduling the annual event in the hopes that snow might come their way.

"It's not an exact science, to say the least," he said.

Last year, with the snow a no-show for yet another year, the sculpture contest, the festival's main event, was moved to the park's volleyball court, where contestants made sculptures from moistened sand, said Sinclair Hamilton, one of the organizers of the festival.

This year, event organizers broke down and bought their own compressor-powered snow-making machine.

It took four nights for enough snow to be made, Hamilton said.

"We were doing it all night," he said. "It was cold, and it was a bit of a job."

It appeared to be worth the effort, as contestants huddled all afternoon on the island of manufactured white stuff to craft everything from snow forts and snowmen to creatures both real and imaginary.

Victoria Mills, 11, a student at Hancock Elementary School, labored with her art teacher, Brandy Merchant, to sculpt a life-size sea turtle. Don Libes, a resident of Potomac, Md., crafted a mythic Flying Spaghetti Monster, which is believed by skeptics to be responsible for creating the heavens and the earth.

The People's Choice Award went to Bryan McCusker, 14, Dakota Clark, 14 and Mikey Weller, 13, for their snow replica of a television set, complete with Xbox console, DVD player and remote.

Other attractions this year included a straw bale minimaze for the younger set, a hat parade, cake walk, tug of war, and a relatively recent attraction, ice sculpting, which organizers hope sticks even when the snow doesn't.

"We're always looking for something to do when the snow doesn't fall right," Murphy said. "We have a good time in spite of the weather."

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