Annual Fire & Ice fest set for Sunday in Pine Grove
W ith the forecast reading 45 degrees, the community is welcome to warmup with some hot chocolate— and chill out with some homemade ice cream— at a county park event thisweekend.
Diakon Community Services is slated to again host the Fire & Ice Winter Fest from 2 to 5 p. m. Sunday at the Sweet Arrow Lake Clubhouse, 108 Clubhouse Road, Pine Grove, according to Susan Long, center services director at Diakon. Admission is free, but a few activities carry a small fee, with all proceeds benefiting Diakon.
“Our goal is to relieve cabin fever syndrome and chase away the winter ‘ blahs.’ The event gives folks a chance to venture outside, to spend a fewhours with family and friends while enjoying the splendor of our county park in the wintertime,” Long said.
The event, in its fifth year— it was canceled due to snowin 2016 — offers something for everyone, including Splash the Clown making balloon animals for children, a chili cookoff, hot dogs to roast over a fire and live entertainment. And, if theweather cooperates, ice skating, sleigh riding and an ice dive from the Schuylkill Haven Dive Rescue & Recovery Team, Long said.
New this year, however, is a program that jubilantly justifies a chocolate lover’s sweet tooth.
Kim Wood ford, nutrition education adviser for the Penn State Extension in Schuylkill County, will do a presentation titled “Healthy Chocolate Dream,” explaining the health benefits of the cocoa- derived delicacy, and making a south- of- the- border hot chocolate.
“Mexican Hot Chocolate differs from traditional hot chocolate by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract and nutmeg,” Long said.
That won’t be the only consumable with added spices; the Fire Hot Chili Cookoff is set to fire things up a bit. There’s no charge to enter the contest, but Long asks that “competitors to donate a large crockpot of chili.” There is a charge, $ 5, to taste the chili selections and enter a vote. Last year’s people’s choice winner was none other than a county commissioner.
“Gary Hess won the competition last year and 2013; he has participated annually since 2012. Will he be dethroned as ‘ chili king’? Only time will tell…” Long said.
Hewill be competing against 2015’ s winner, Jesse Wade, whois providing the musical entertainment.
“Wade has been entertaining audiences for 30 years with traditional and rockin’ country music,” according to Long.
If the heat of the chili is too much, Bob Evanchalk will be demonstrating ice cream making on site to help cool off.
And provided there’s enough ice, the Schuylkill Haven Dive Rescue & Recovery Team will practice
“... The event gives folks a chance to venture outside, to spend a few hours with family and friends while enjoying the splendor of our county park in the wintertime.” Susan Long, Diakon Community Services director
ice rescue and ice diving.
“Ice rescue allows us to help people and/ or animals that are stranded or have fallen through the ice. The ice dive is used to performunder water search and recovery,” Long said. “By doing the demonstration, the public gets a chance to see all that is involved in ice rescue and recovery. It also makes people aware thatwe have these trained individuals in our county willing to help our neighbors. We are able to talk to the public in a comfortable setting and can answer the questions that they may have.”
Up next for Diakon is the Break the Ice Country Dance to be held from 7 to 10 p. m. Feb. 23 at the Sweet Arrow Lake Clubhouse.
For more information about the event or any other Diakon doings, email Long at longs@ diakon. org or call 570- 624- 3018.
Elmer Kramer, Minersville, right, prepares a cup of his hot sausage chili for Teddi Cunningham, Minersville, during last year’s Fire and Ice Winter Fest. This year’s event will be held from 2 to 5 p. m. Sunday at Sweet Arrow Lake Clubhouse, Pine Grove.