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Funfest to Feature Two New “Cook-Off” Competitions

Gonnella, Cargill to Sponsor Funfest Cookoffs
Hazleton, Luzerne County-Funfest is challenging cooks and bakers to showcase their best at this year’s Funfest Weekend.  Two new “cook-off” competitions will take place Saturday, September 7, and Funfest is looking for anyone who claims to make the best burger or bake the best pastry.  A Signature Burger Cook-off will be sponsored by Cargill in Hazleton, and contestants will be able to create their own special burger for judging. And Gonnella Frozen Products will sponsor this year’s Bake-Off, which will pit cookies, cakes and pies against each other for the title of the best. Entries are still being accepted for both contests, and all will be eligible for trophies in the categories of Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice.
Two local food related industries are the sponsors for this year’s cook-offs at Funfest.  Cargill will sponsor and provide ingredients for the Funfest Signature Burger Cook-off.  And Gonnella Frozen Products is sponsoring the Bake-Off.  Funfest is still accepting entries for both competitions.  Winners will be announced at the Cook-offs on Funfest Saturday September 7.
“Cargill has been supporting our cook-off for a number of years, not only through their financial support, but by donating the main ingredient, thus making it a very easy contest to enter,” said Cook-off Chair Dolly Forte.  Those interested in participating will be given a set amount of ground beef, and can prepare “slider” sized burgers to their liking and bring them to Funfest. Another community-minded company, Giant Foods, will donate the slider buns on which the burgers can be served.  Contestants must provide their own condiments and/or toppings so as to make the burgers their own.
“Through their continued support, Cargill has helped us to keep the cook-offs new and unique every year,” Forte said.  “And Giant has been involved in other ways in the past, but we welcome them as a partner in our cook-offs this year, and thank both these firms for their support.”
Some of the “Signature Burgers” will go to a panel of judges chosen by the Funfest Committee, and they will select the Judges’ Choice. And spectators at Funfest will be able to sample the entries and choose their favorite for the “People’s Choice Award.” 
The Pastry “Bake-Off” is a follow-up to last year’s Funfest Christmas Cookie Contest, which coincided with the 2012 theme, “Christmas in September.”  This year’s contest welcomes any baked good, from cookies and cakes to cupcakes and pies.  Entrants will be asked to bring a specific number of sample sized servings to the Funfest Saturday event, and winners will be chosen in this contest, also by judges and spectators. 
Gonnella Frozen Products sponsored the cookie contest last year, and are continuing their involvement in 2013.  “We were fortunate to welcome Gonnella last year as a friend of Funfest, and are pleased to have them back again,” Forte said. “This is another local industry which is looking to make its mark as a community-minded company, and we are fortunate to be benefiting from their generosity.”
The Signature Burger Cook-off and Bake-Off will be held simultaneously on Funfest Saturday at a new location, at the intersection of Broad and Laurel Streets, near the former H.N.B. Building. Set-up for participants begins at 10:30 a.m., and burgers and pastry will be available for public judging by 11:30 a.m. Sampling ends at 1:30, and winners will be announced at 2:00 p.m.
Rules for both competitions, as well as entry forms, are available at www.funfestpa.org, or by calling the Funfest office at (570) 455-1509.  Or you can email funfest@hazletonchamber.org.  A complete schedule of events for Funfest Weekend can also be found on the website.

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