The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 13, 2014

Campground looks to welcome spring

CAMANCHE — As winter comes to an end, Rock Creek Marina and Campground officials are putting up their outdoor sporting equipment and trading it in for a new form of entertainment.

To end the season right, they are breaking out the spices in the second ever Chili Cook Off at 11 a.m. Saturday to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring.

“I don’t think it’s the official kickoff to spring or anything like that,” Clinton County Conservation Board member Kim Rixen said. “It’s just that everybody’s getting cabin fever so we wanted to do something fun so people could get out of the house.”

In addition to the Chili Cook Off, the weekend also was supposed to be designated to free ice skating rentals, but with temperatures in the high 40s and 50s last week, the ice did not maintain its strength and Rock Creek officials were forced to cancel the weekend special.

But Rixen said there is still plenty of entertainment in store for Saturday.

Once the cook-off commences and three winners are announced and awarded prizes, a special program showcasing birds of prey will follow. Environmental Education Coordinator Mark Roberts will lead the program and introduce guests to the American Kestrel, a member of the falcon family, and a Great Horned Owl.

“The event is aimed at people of all ages, people who like chili,” Rixen said. “But the kids really enjoy seeing the birds.”

The afternoon will conclude with the Riverside Jam, a musical performance by naturalist Chuck Jacobsen.

As the title insists, the Riverside Jam is typically held outdoors but because of the warming trends that has the ice melting and the ground thawing, the Conservation group decided to have the day’s events indoors.

Those who wish to attend the Chili Cook Off are asked to make a $5 donation for a chance to choose the winner of the day, who will receive a three day and two night weekend getaway at the Rock Creek Marina and Campground large cabin, capable of sleeping six adults, including a two-day free rental of either a kayak or canoe, and two free bundles of fire wood for those nightly bonfires.

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