By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Early rain showers and persistent misty conditions couldn't stop the 11th Annual Kielbasi Festival in downtown Shenandoah, or its kielbasi-making contest. The event kicked off at 11am, and wrapped up at 5pm, occurring along North Main Street from Centre to Coal.
While some craft vendors and potential patrons opted not to make the trip to the borough in the inclement conditions, Shenandoah's three "Kielbasi Kings" still set up shop in front of the A.P. Damato Post, while the Rescue Hook & Ladder Co.'s bleenie line stretched across Coal Street, nearly to the Main Street Laundromat.
Local stands also were present, including from the Shenandoah Junior Blue Devils, Steward's in Sheppton, and the Shenandoah Valley Marching Band.
Just after 1:30pm, judging for the kielbasi making contest occurred, as the owners of Shenandoah's three kielbasi shops sampled entries submitted in two categories, fresh and smoked. The judges were David "Lucky" Lukashunas, Lucky's Kielbasy Shop; Mark Kowalonek, Kowalonek's; and Mike Stanakis, the Capitol.
The trio tried seven entries in the fresh category, ten in the smoke, and scores were tallied for trophies to be distributed just before 3:00pm.
First and Second Place trophies were awarded in each category.
In the Fresh category, Steve Oravitz took first, and Ben Jacobs second. In the Smoked category, Tom Zajack placed first, while John Gurski placed second.
A new "Kielbasi King" mascot was set to be revealed, however, concerns of damage to the costume in the wet weather pre-empted the reveal. A bounce house was also scheduled to be a part of the festival, but was not present due to the weather.