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Celebrating winter

February 04, 2008|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The sixth annual IceFest offered a winter celebration in Chambersburg, with more than 60 ice sculptures scattered throughout downtown, a chance to warm up from the cold with a chili cook-off and hot pepper eating contest, and other activities.

The four-day event, which began Thursday, was expected to draw 10,000 people, said Paul Cullinane, president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. and a member of the IceFest Committee.

"The only thing we want (people) to get out of this is to have a good time and see some unique artwork in ice," Cullinane said. "It also helps promote downtown businesses."

Some of the activities Saturday included an art show at the Heritage Center on Lincoln Way East, live artist demonstrations on East King Street and evening fireworks, Cullinane said.

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The ice sculptures were courtesy of DiMartino Ice Sculptures, a Jeannette, Pa.-based company. Eight large ice sculptures and 55 small ones, each with a "Winter Wonderland" theme, were made out of 25,000 pounds of ice, Cullinane said. The small sculptures were pre-carved, while the larger ones were carved Thursday and Friday nights.

Adults and children, bundled up in scarves, gloves and hats, took turns taking pictures beside the various ice sculptures.

Michelle Cordell of Waynesboro, Pa., and her children, Justin, 5, and Becca, 3, had their pictures taken on the "Royal Throne," a giant icy chair with a snowman's head as the back of the chair. Photo souvenirs on the ice sculpture were sponsored by the First National Bank of Greencastle.

"I just thought it was neat," Michelle Cordell said of the ice sculpture.

The three came to IceFest last year, but drove through because the children were so young, she said.

"(IceFest) is nice as a way to celebrate winter," she said.

Justin said he was not cold at all, but Becca said she was.

Inside Central Presbyterian Church on the square, crowds were warming up with some chili.

Professional and amateur groups participated in the contest to see who could make the best chili. About a dozen groups made 10 gallons of chili each, in hopes of going home with as much as $200.

"I just hope people have fun, and while they're enjoying IceFest, it's a good way to come in and get warm," said Karen Carmack, chairwoman of the IceFest planning committee.

Dave and Bernadette Whalen came to IceFest from Martinsburg, W.Va. Although neither were chili eaters, they were working up a sweat trying the different types, Dave said.

"It's something different -- it's a nice day out," Bernadette said. "We walked around and looked at the ice sculptures."

"It's a nice way to bring people downtown," Dave said. "It's great to see all these people."

However, the pair knew exactly whose chili they liked the best -- the Franklin County Therapeutic Riding Center's.

"We won amateur and people's choice last year," said Nina Hill, who works at the riding center. "It gives us publicity and it's fun."

"We have a secret ingredient," Hill said. "There is just a little bit of a difference to ours."

Linda Golden, who works at the riding center, was responsible for the organization's chili recipe. She said it takes four hours to make 10 gallons of her chili.

The riding center's chili took first place in the Amateur Division again Saturday, with the Chambersburg Community Theatre finishing second.

Other cook-off awards went to Family Traditions Lighthouse Restaurant (first place in the Professional Division), Chambersburg Endoscopic Center (People's Choice) and Occupational Services Inc. (best booth).

After the chili cook-off, 15 people participated in a hot pepper eating contest with a chance to win $25. Each contestant was given two minutes and a bottle of water to wash down as many jalapeño peppers as possible.

The winner, Marshall Cooper, 19, of Shippensburg, Pa., ate nine.

Cooper described his win as "painful," but said he usually enjoys eating spicy foods.

"I've never eaten whole jalapeños before," Cooper said. "They taste like green peppers (at first) and then get hot."




Chili cook-off winners

The following were the winners of Saturday's IceFest chili cook-off, which was at Central Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg, Pa.

  • First place (Professional Division) -- Family Traditions Lighthouse Restaurant

  • First place (Amateur Division) -- Franklin County Therapeutic Riding Center

  • Second place (Amateur Division) -- Chambersburg Community Theatre

  • People's Choice -- Chambersburg Endoscopic Center

  • Best booth -- Occupational Services Inc.

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