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Contest all consuming

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At last year’s Edible Book Festival in Winchester, an entry Tamara Myer submitted for “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” won the grand prize in the amateur adult category. — Courtesy photo

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Kay Ross’ entry for “Lonesome Dove” won first prize for “best pun" in last year's Edible Book Festival in Winchester. — Courtesy photo

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An entry for "Three Cups of Tea" is shown in last year's Edible Book Festival at Handley Library in Winchester. — Courtesy photo

Library fundraiser invites readers to spoil their appetite

By Josette Keelor -- jkeelor@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Last year's Edible Book Festival in Winchester was only the opening chapter of a tradition that Handley Regional Library employees and volunteers hope will inspire creativity among readers for years to come.

In the sequel of a local take on the International Edible Book Festival, judges will look for creative chefs with a penchant for puns, offering prizes of books to winners in various categories.

Thinking back on last year's success, public relations and development officer Laura Christiansen hopes this year's will be even better.

"It was great. We had about 20 participants," Christiansen said. "And we had a great time."
Entry fees are $25 for adult amateur and professional categories, and $5 for children ages 5-10 or youths ages 11-16. The cost of attending is $50, and each entry receives half-priced admission.

Winners will be announced at a ticketed event at 7 p.m. on March 30.

"People were just so creative," Christiansen said. "We had a few people who really just blew us away with the creative materials."

Last year's amateur adult grand-prize winner submitted an entry for "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," by Muriel Barbery. The hedgehog, made by Tamara Myer of Boyce, became the face of the local event's promotional materials, Christiansen said, really capturing the elements of the book.

Myer designed the hedgehog from a Christmas recipe for a cheese ball pine cone, forming the animal's body out of cheese and slivered almonds, with pretzels for feet and chocolate chips for eyes and a nose.

"It actually was very tasty," Myer said.

Another memorable entry was for Larry McMurtry's book "Lonesome Dove," represented by a single Dove chocolate candy on an otherwise empty plate, Christiansen said.

The book "Three Cups of Tea," by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, inspired an entry of three tea cups, each with a T-shaped cookie.

In an effort to pull in more participation this year, the library reached out to schools in Frederick and Clarke counties and in Winchester, Christiansen said.

Judges will include Tassie Pippert of "WVPT Cooks with Tassie Pippert," artist Gale Bowman-Harlow, cookbook author Linda Russell and artist Barbara Byrd.

"It was fun and the kids, um, amazing response," said Frederick County resident Barbara Sankovich, who will return as a judge again this year.

"I was on the art committee for the library," said Sankovich, a former art curriculum coordinator for Winchester Public Schools.

"Hopefully, word gets passed around and it's a fun thing to do," she said.

Unlike other cities and towns that host edible book events, Winchester does not require the entries to be actually edible, Christiansen said.

"That is something that sets us apart from some of the other cities," she said. "Edibility is great, [but] it does not have to actually be edible."

"It's just another fun way to get people involved," said Myer, a library board member. "It's such a good effort for the community."

The Edible Book Festival will take place at Handley Library, in Winchester, on March 28 for children and March 30 for adults. For information, call the library at 662-9053 or email ediblebook@handleyregional.org. Information is also available through www.books2eat.com.

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