A former Indiana resident has added “writer and 2013 contest winner” to her resume after winning the Banana Split Theme Song Contest, part of Latrobe’s Banana Split Celebration.
The celebration kicked off Friday with a banana split-themed Yellow-Tie Gala, where Liz Youngmayer Hand’s winning song, “A Latrobe Hit — The Banana Split,” was performed by Studious One.
The song, with lyrics written by Hand, was announced as the winner at the Latrobe Art Center’s pre-party on Tuesday. The party was held as part of the center’s weekly Tunes-Day Evening in the Park, and featured banana split-themed music, food and d￩ecor, according to the center’s website. It also played host to the original soda fountain from Strickler’s Drug Store, which is where the first banana split was created.
The announcement, Hand said, came as a surprise.
“I prepared myself all day for losing,” she said. “I had a bad feeling. We thought maybe the senior citizens or Joe Comm would win.”
The number of votes that each of the 10 participants in the contest earned was not released by the center, though the contestants had a combined 4,679 votes.
Hand said she put more effort than expected into the contest.
“The last two weeks I went really ‘bananas’ getting ready,” she said. “I didn’t even think that I would work this hard to win.”
After a visit to the Latrobe Art Center one day three weeks ago, she was told that participants were taking the contest very seriously, and that’s when she cracked down and got to work promoting her song.
“We had a lot of people canvassing and I guess a lot of people liked our song,” she said.
After Tuesday’s announcement, Hand and the band, Studious One, had the opportunity to perform live on the radio Friday morning.
“For not practicing together at the beginning, the harmony went really good (on the radio).”
Hand contributes her success to her fans and some family members.
“I really want to thank everyone who voted and my mother and my sister who were tireless in telling everybody about it.”
The Greater Latrobe Community Chorus took second place in the contest, while Joseph Comm took third.
A Banana Ingredient Baking Contest was held Saturday as part of the celebration, as well as a malt shop sock hop dance at the Latrobe Art Center. The center encouraged attendees to “dust off their poodle skirts, saddle shoes and prepare to go back to the fabulous 1950s for some shakin,’ rattlin’ and rollin.’ Of course, a banana split sundae bar was at the event, as well as chocolate dipped bananas.
Throughout the month of August, Valley Dairy Restaurants in Latrobe has been offering a special banana split ice cream cone for $1. This will continue to the end of the month.
PHOTO: Studious One, winner of the Latrobe Art Center’s Banana Split Theme Song Contest, performed “A Latrobe Hit — The Banana Split” during the contest Tuesday. Performing were band members Carl Masciantonio, Charlotte Piper, Leah Komarinski and Andrew Goetz. The lyrics were written by Liz Youngmayer Hand. (Photo courtesy of the Latrobe Bulletin)