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Tug of War Brings Olympic Spirit to Manayunk

BBQ set in Pretzel Park August 6 for one purpose—fun.

Jane Lipton now can call herself a tug-of-war aficionado. The executive director of the  recently dreamt up the idea of a community barbecue centered around the summer camp game, and will bring that to light at August 6.

She came across tug of war recently while reading about former Olympic sports. Although the team rope-pulling challenge had short-lived Olympic glory (1900 to 1920), the game has lived on at company picnics, summer camps and backyard barbeque's.

Thinking about bringing the event to Manayunk, Lipton became "transfixed" with the subject and needed to make it happen.

"Tug of war brought back a flood of memories for me. I couldn't get to sleep because I kept thinking about it. I had to bring it to Manayunk," she said.

With the help of her staff, Lipton developed the idea of for Manayunk's First Annual Tug of War BBQ. Co-ed teams comprised of local businesses, civic organizations, nonprofits—whatever—will compete against each other in a tournament August 6 at Pretzel Park.

Unlike the State of Manayunk, board meetings, public hearing or festivals, Lipton said there are no "ulterior motives" for the event. It's not a "grand, big event," she said, it's just for fun.

Though fun, the MDC is taking the contest seriously. The organization bought an official 75-foot, 1.5 inch rope, and the event is structured and some healthy competition is expected between light-hearted Main Street rivals. Already, Bruce Cooper (of ) and Winnie Clowry (of ) are getting their staffs ready for the event.

The tug of war costs $50 per team, and the winner will get 75 percent of the prize money—second place gets 25 percent. Each team can't exceed 10 people and must include three women. The winner of a match is best two of three.

In a lot of ways, the Tug of War BBQ serves as a company picnic for the merchants of Main Street. There will be sandwiches and refreshments, and people can play tug of war outside the contest.

The Pretzel Park event starts at 6 p.m. Monday.

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