New festival will highlight the pretzel

By on March 14, 2012

By: MICHAEL C. UPTON Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Riding on the success of the Lititz Chocolate Walk held each year in October, this spring members of the Kiwanis Club of the Lititz Area have decided to celebrate another edible icon of Lititz — the pretzel.

The inaugural Pretzel Fest will take place on April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Lititz.

"We were trying to find another way to raise funds for kids. So, we were looking to do another extensive fundraiser," said Alice Bracken who co-chairs the Pretzel Fest committee with Kathy Blankenbiller.

"Kiwanis’ main thrust internationally has always been projects benefiting children," said Kiwanis Club President Melissa Warner. "Our club has given money to the Lititz Public Library, Schreiber Pediatric Center and the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic…. The Pretzel Fest money is already earmarked for the Lititz-Warwick Community Chest Food Bank."

Linking the food bank to a festival centered around pretzels seemed like a natural fit to the Kiwanis members. Like the Chocolate Walk, events for Pretzel Fest will take place at various locations throughout downtown Lititz.

"We don’t want to take away from the Chocolate Walk, so that’s why we are calling it a Pretzel Fest. It’s not the same kind of activity you would do during the Chocolate Walk," said Bracken. "During the Chocolate Walk all you do is basically eat."

The epicenter of Pretzel Fest is the old Rudy Building, 27 E. Main St. Visitors will check in and receive a ticket and ballot for the chef’s competition. Local chefs, including Mike Greco from Greco’s Italian Ice and Tim Whitmyer from Scooter’s, will vie for the award of best use of pretzels in a recipe. Visitors will sample and vote for their favorite. Still in the planning phase of Pretzel Fest, Bracken expects more chef’s to compete.

While deciding between the pretzel inspired creations, attendees will be entertained by German dancers from Lancaster Liederkranz. Visitors can purchase cards and play pretzel bingo all day for $1 per card. Even though someone could get comfortable at the bingo table, Bracken admits she would love to see festival goers make their way around to other sites. Games of skill will be located in the two storefront windows of the Rudy Building; Twisted Minute to Win It is a pretzelized version of the challenges on NBC’s "Minute to Win It" game show.

"I don’t know if I want to say what they are, because we don’t want people practicing," Bracken said.

Other Twisted Minute to Win It challenges will be located throughout town at places like Tim’s Gym and the Wilbur Chocolate factory. There will be ten tasks in all. Upon completion the gamer’s name will be put into a random drawing for a prize. If anyone completes all ten tasks that person’s name will go into a drawing for a grand prize.

The Twisted Minute to Win It will provide some great entertainment, but both Bracken and Warner are the most excited about the dunking booth. For a nominal fee, passers by can take a shot at local celebrities*, politicians, and important figures. Mayor Ron Ottel will climb in for a potential plunge at noon.

The addition of Pretzel Fest will create a busy and exciting weekend for Lititz. The cycling event previously known as the Tour de Lititz, now the Rock Lititz Tour, takes place on Friday and Saturday. Rich Ruoff, Pro Cycling Tour operations manager, expects to draw thousands of visitors form all over the east coast. Saturday starts with a ten mile road race through the scenic countryside. On Sunday the tour features two events, an uphill time trial and a short and fast criterium race through town. Ruoff has big plans for growing the annual race.

"We want to develop this race into the largest Pro Am bike race in the East over the next several years," said Ruoff.

Ruoff asked anyone interested in offering host housing for visiting riders to contact him at 391-9722. Updated information for cyclists can be found at the league’s website, roadcyclingleague.com.

Admission to Pretzel Fest is $5. Tickets are limited to 500. Advanced tickets for Pretzel Fest are available; for a full list of ticket selling locations visit lititzpretzelfest.com. If available, tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the old Rudy Building.

*Editor’s note: Michael C. Upton, author of this article and the bi-weekly column Reel Reviews, will be in the dunk tank at 12:30 p.m. More PRETZEL FEST, page A11

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