2009-02-12 / Entertainment

Celebrate Valentine's Day At Hancock's Winter Festival


Among the favorite community and cultural events held annually in Hancock, the Hancock Winter Festival offers visitors a welcome break from the winter doldrums. This year's festival, the eighth annual, will be held this Saturday, Feb. 14, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Widmeyer Park in Hancock.

Admission to the event is free.

Sponsored by the Hancock Arts Council, the event will offer numerous activities designed to help visitors shake off those winter blues and celebrate Valentine's Day with family and loved ones. For 2009, the festival will again offer ice blocks for carving. Regardless of what the weather brings, snow and straw bales will also be available for sculpting. Children of all ages can also participate in activities at the War Memorial Library, including craft making, offered by librarian Marilyn Pontius, and a free showing of the movie "A Charlie Brown Valentine" at 1:00 p.m.

Now a custom for many visitors, the hat contest gives festival goers an opportunity to express themselves and to win prizes in various categories. Visitors are encouraged to wear their special millinery masterpieces to compete in the event. Over the years, the contest has attracted increasingly creative headgear, fun to look at and fun to wear. The contest is open to all ages. Arts Council member Tracy Salvagno will also be on hand at the library to help contestants design and decorate hats.

Visitors looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift will also appreciate the live auction, led by Ronnie Zimmerman, which starts at 12:30 p.m. Close to 40 items will be auctioned off, including dinner tickets for nearby restaurants, oil changes, animal rabies vaccinations, wall plaques, gym bags, umbrellas, a sled and snow tube, candy hearts, a cordless screw gun with batteries, a box of bacon, a porringer side table made of tiger maple, barbeque kits, a kitchen faucet, and much more.

Among the other attractions that returning visitors have come to appreciate is a cake walk where participants can pay $1 for a chance to win delicious baked goods . Local musician Mike Kligerman will provide musical entertainment. Hot food and beverages, served by the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, will also be available.

According to Arts Council Chairman Sinclair Hamilton, the festival has brought visitors from across the four-state region as well as the District of Columbia. "We've had excellent participation in the past, and we hope the same holds true this year," Hamilton said. Proceeds from the event will help the Arts Council to deliver future cultural and community programs in Hancock, he added.

For more information or to reach the Hancock Arts Council, e-mail Sinclair Hamilton at sinclairhamilton@verizon.net or call 301-678-5719.

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