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Winter Wonderland theme raised funds for charity at annual cookie swap

By Staff | Jan 15, 2013

Diane Keller won the title "Miss Cookie Crumb" for the best tasting cookie at Orlando's in December. The event is held each year to raise funds for charity. Her display used a shortbread cookie with fruit topping.

MUNCY – What started out as a little cookie swap in 2000 among a few women just grew into this big event according to main organizer, Nicole Coppes. For the past twelve years the residents of the Muncy community were able to vote for their favorite cookie display which is always held the second Sunday in December at Orlando’s. It wasn’t until two years ago Coppes decided to use the endeavor to raise funds for charity. Thus, each business or sponsor would bake their cookies and arrange a display to complement the cookie. The theme this year was “A Winter Wonderland.”

Two winners were announced, one for the best display and one for the best tasting cookie. “This year each participant got to choose their favorite charity and make the display to depict that charity. The winner for the best display went to Mary Bennardi, a local dentist who was able to raise $300 towards Accessible Dental, a program in Sullivan County for the handicapped who cannot afford dental care. Cash donations were made towards the best display which had gingerbread men sitting in little wheelchairs.

The best cookie award went to Diane Keller who also gained the coveted title “Miss Cookie Crumb Queen.” She was bequeathed with a special tiara after winning the overall best tasting cookie with the highest amount of points which was officially judged by Matt Akers, Father Glenn McCreary, Jim Coburn, Marcia Ferrell and Joanne Muhalick from the Muncy Bake Shop. “There were 9 entries this year,” Coppes said. Each contestant made 14 dozen cookies. Keller’s cookie was a shortbread topped with cream cheese icing and strawberry-kiwi fruit and it was chosen by popular vote up until judging day on Sunday, December 9th.

There are prizes too that were given out to second and third place winners according to Nancy Trout. “This is a big event,” Trout added. Nicole looks for prizes to give throughout the year.

Last year’s winner (2011) went to Connie Coyner who won two years in a row. She rode in the Halloween parade wearing her tiara which remains a keepsake to Muncy’s reigning cookie queen. “It is a big deal to receive the tiara,” Coppes said. “Some years we’ve even had a waiting list, and other years some dropped out from the pressure of the competition,” she added. Judging is based on taste, originality and the display itself. Four new judges came on board this year: Chris McManigal, Kim Wetherhold, Amy Bowen and Heather Baranoski.

Those who participated in the charity fundraising baking contest were Connie Coyner, Sheila Gush, Mary Bennardi, Mary Ann Goetz, Lisa Sliboda, Diane Keller, Katie Dgien, and Faye Cutler.

Judging was done by popular vote three weeks prior to the event when the 8 judges came together to pick the overall winners.

Last year Lisa Sleboda collected the most money which she donated to Family Promise. Each year the town of Muncy likes to celebrate the holidays with this annual event where everyone has a chance to vote for their favorite cookie display. “It really got competitive to see who could bake the best tasting cookie with the best display,” said Coppes.