Chilly chili cook-off highlights Winterfest at Moraine State Park
Share with others:
Where can one nosh on a cup of hot, homemade chili while walking in snow shoes past a display of ice carvings? Perhaps no place but Moraine State Park.
The park and the Moraine Preservation Fund are debuting what is hoped will become an annual tradition: a family-focused Winterfest Celebration. It's set for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, on the north shore of the state park in Butler County.
Patti Jo Lambert, a spokeswoman for the Butler County Tourism and Promotion Agency, which supports the project, said the idea evolved from the concept that Moraine -- perhaps the county's most prominent natural jewel -- should shine even during what many consider the off-season.
"It's about finding a way to celebrate the winter activities that can be done in the park. Come see the forest in a way you many not normally see it," she explained.
The preservation fund is billing the Winterfest as an antidote to the post-Christmas doldrums.
The free festival involves an array of activities and shows. A dog sled team will be on hand, and there will be a snowshoe workshop, games and crafts for kids, a nature hike through Moraine's woodlands -- anyone who owns cross-country skis is invited to give them a try -- and carvers will work on gigantic blocks of ice.
The outing wouldn't be complete without food, and what's better than some spicy chili to warm the belly and the hands. So, a chili cook-off has been scheduled. Prizes are planned for individuals and businesses that choose to participate. For required pre-registration, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Be advised, however, that participants need to provide their own means of keeping their chili hot, since sources of electricity are limited. Visitors will pay $1 to taste the chili and $3 for an entire bowl. Proceeds will benefit the Moraine Preservation Fund, a nonprofit, volunteer organization that supports the park.
Chili won't be the only food option. Hot dogs, hot chocolate, cookies and more will be for sale. More information about the event can be obtained by calling 724-234-4619.
For those who can't make it to the festival, the park is open during daylight hours all winter long.
"There are two groomed trails on the south shore for cross-country skiing. There's a sled-riding hill. You can go ice fishing. You can take a hike. There's lots of different ways to appreciate what we have in this resource at Moraine," Ms. Lambert said.
First Published January 20, 2011 5:44 am