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Fun, funnel cakes plentiful at festival

September 17, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

HANCOCK - Karen Sornson poured, Gail Fitzwater flipped and Laura Creek dusted away the afternoon Saturday at the 30th annual Hancock Canal-Apple Days Festival.

The funnel cake production line of Hancock Lioness Club members appeared to be well-oiled.

At least the cakes were, anyway.

Assembled next to a large vat of scalding canola oil - ranging from 300 to 350 degrees - club members made their annual rite of serving festival-goers for the last 26 years look easy.

"We take turns doing each job," said Fitzwater as Sornson freed a cake from a stainless metal ring and floated it to her at the opposite end of the vat to be flipped and lightly browned on top.

"We're not going to say anything about the batter," Sornson said. "That's our secret recipe."

Depending on the weather, Lioness Club president Connie Burgan said members have prepared as many as 300 or so of the powdered sugar-topped treats each day of the festival, which resumes today at noon in Widmeyer Park.

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"We're going to learn how to do the funnel cakes for the Apple Butter Festival (in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.)," said Hancock Lions Club president James "Red" Smith, chairman of the Canal-Apple Days Festival. Their counterparts are unable to go this year, he said.

"It's not a moneymaker for us, but it gets a lot of people out," Smith said.

He hoped to recruit a few new members as well.

Sandi Myers, vice president of the Hancock Middle-Senior High School PTA, hoped to recruit a few members at the festival, too.

"We're doing our duty here," said Myers, who was joined by the group's treasurer, Melissa Lanehart, and their husbands.

"Hoping to catch a few locals," she said.

The group also was selling clothing emblazoned with the school's new panther logo, which Myers said had more teeth than the previous one she said resembled the logo of the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

Members of St. Peter's Catholic Church and other volunteers prepared 4,500 apple dumplings to sell for the weekend. They ran out of apples on Friday about noon or they would have baked more, Barbara Fry said.

"It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun," said Fry, who expected to sell out of the dessert.

"There is a secret recipe, yes," she said. "And it's going to stay that way."

Several yards away from the church's sprawling display of dumplings and about 60 other vendors at the festival, Beatrice Hill of Fulton County, Pa., enjoyed the music of the Tri-State Big Band.

"When I was going to school, we had an organ, and I always liked to mess around with that," said Hill, 88. "I just played for my own enjoyment."




If you go



What: 30th annual Hancock Canal Apple Days Festival

When: Today, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Widmeyer Park, Hancock

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