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PLATTSMOUTH – Rain didn’t dampen the spirits for those attending Sunday’s annual Fall Festival at the Church of the Holy Spirit.

True, outdoor activities like the always popular hayrack rides and the apple sling shot event were canceled, but plenty of fun was found inside the gym of St. John the Baptist school.

“Everybody is having a great time,” said chairwoman Beth Staskiewicz as the festival was in high gear. “We’re having a party for sure.”

This year’s theme was `Harvesting Faith,’ and organizers cooked up a new event – a chili cook-off that was a treat to many, especially with the cool, wet conditions outside.

“It’s good,” said Mike Boren of Pacific Junction, Iowa, as he tested the samples.

“It’s good seasonal food,” added Mayor R. Paul Lambert.

There were seven cook-off participants, each with a particular theme and catchy chili promotion. The owners of Kerns Excavating Co., for example, encouraged the crowd to sample their entry with the phrase, `You’ll dig our chili.’

Another contestant got plenty of responses with her entry, `Chili Today, Hot Tamale.’

Former Plattsmouth mayor Mike Bowman dressed up in historical gear while serving his entry.

“I do a lot of re-enactments,” Bowman said, adding he’s heading to Indiana this week to perform in a re-enactment of a big battle of the War of 1812 in front of thousands of school children.

“It’s important to know where you came from,” Bowman said.

A longtime winner of chili contests, Pat Carroll of Plattsmouth won the Best Chili category.

There were plenty of games that kept kids happy and occupied what with the dreary conditions outside.

“It gives them something to do,” said Charlie Klinefelter, whose daughter, Kimberlee, a third grader at the school, won an animal at one of the games.

“It’s a big gathering,” Charlie said as he gazed about. “It seems like it’s getting bigger and bigger each year.”

Colin Wuelling and Bo Staskiewicz, fourth graders at the school were there.

When asked what they enjoyed the most, Colin said, “The games.” Bo said, “The food.”

Jeff and Joy Scanlan were this year’s honored couple.

Festival co-chair Deb Walton said, “They do a lot for our church and school.”

“It’s a nice honor,” Jeff said. “We raised our five daughters here.”

The Knights of Columbus served hamburgers and hot dogs, and the Krusty Minstrels provided the music.

Approximately 30 raffle baskets were given away, according to Staskiewicz. Katie Sharp of Plattsmouth won the top raffle prize of $1,000.

On Monday, Staskiewicz looked back on Sunday’s festival with approval.

“Considering the weather, I think it was successful,” she said. “We got lots of good feedback and lots of people like the chili competition.”

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