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Hancock Winter Festival has an artistic flair

February 09, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Katie Hendricks, 8, of Clarksburg, Md., shields her face from the heat that is melting her marshmallows Saturday at Hancock Winter Festival.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HANCOCK, Md. — Some might have seen just a pile of snow.

But Amanda Hawbecker and her snow-sculpting team saw a computer.

So Amanda, 7, of Hagerstown, her sister, Kayla Hawbecker, 5, and their friend, Alexandra Smith, 7, of Hancock, set to work, carving out a monitor, a keyboard, a chair and even a slide from the chair from an easy dismount from the sculpture.

The sculpture won a first-place prize for the team known as Rock Star Snow Girls on Saturday at the Hancock Winter Festival at Widmeyer Park.

“We found this big pile of snow over there and then we looked and it looked like a computer to us,” Amanda Hawbecker said. “We used some green food coloring to dye it green so it looked like a computer screen. It looked really good to me.”

Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said it was that sort of creativity that the Hancock Arts Council hoped to inspire 13 years ago when the fledgling group planned its first event.

“We started meeting in late fall. We wanted some type of festival with an artistic flair and we didn’t want to wait for fair weather,” he said. “Here, we use snow as a medium for sculpting.”

When weather permits, attendees use nature’s snow, Murphy said. When the ground is green, as it was Saturday, the council brings in truckloads of snow from Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pa.

Other festival attractions include ice-sculpting demonstrations, a hat parade, a cake walk, hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows over an open pit. Murphy said the event was canceled last year for the first time ever because it was “freaky, weird warm.”

Though the festival has drawn around 150 people and 10 to 12 sculpting teams in the past, Murphy said attendance was down this year to around 60 and he wasn’t sure why.

Sharon Bishop of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., assumed the event had just lost momentum due to last year’s cancellation, she said, but she enjoys it and hopes it will pick back up. Bishop attends each year with her granddaughter, Skylar McMullen, 11, also of Berkeley Springs, and other family members.

“It’s just the outdoors and the other kids and the fact that it gives them something to do during the wintertime,” Bishop said.

Skylar McMullen and her team built a cave in the snow. Willie Hoopengardner, 5, of Hagerstown, went with a standard snowman just about his size.

The Hendricks family of Clarksburg, Md., opted for a more elaborate sculpture, a piece called “Owl Love You Forever” that won the People’s Choice award. Katie Hendricks, 8, said she thought of the owl theme and her mother, Alethea Hendricks, worked out the name. Her father Jay Hendricks, and two brothers, Leo, 15, and Michael, 12, helped bring it to life.

“We got a big pile of snow and put it round to make a heart,” Katie Hendricks said. “We have three baby owls with hearts around them and a mommy owl and a daddy owl. To write ‘Owl love you forever,’ we used little sticks.”

Jay Hendricks said his family attends the festival each year while spending time with relatives in McConnellsburg, Pa. He especially likes the accordion music of Michael Kligerman, as well as the hot soups and concessions.

“It’s a great family get-together and something the kids look forward to every year,” Hendricks said. “It’s a very creative festival.”

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