Charles Basham, 14, of Bowling Green, was excited children could participate in the brownie eating contest this year at the Duncan Hines Festival.

“Every kid has a sweet tooth, and you need a sweet tooth for this competition,” Charles said.

He couldn’t compete last year because the contest was only open to adults, but he was glad Friday’s competition included rounds for children and teens, which challenged them to see how much of a pan of brownies they could eat in two minutes.

“I just want to see if I can win a trophy for fun,” Charles said.

The 17th annual festival began Friday night in Circus Square Park, with a rubber duck derby, vendors, inflatables and live music as part of the BB&T Concerts in the Parks. The event continues today with the Adventures in Good Baking Contest at Western Kentucky University’s Kentucky Museum beginning at 10 a.m.

The festival celebrates Hines, founder of one of the biggest boxed dessert brands in the U.S., according to Ashley Reynolds, co-chairwoman of the event and president of the Bowling Green Junior Woman’s Club, which hosts the festival.   

“He was born in Bowling Green and brought a lot of positive attention to the city,” she said. “We feel that this festival pays tribute to a man that’s left an amazing legacy.”

Each year, the Junior Woman’s Club donates proceeds from the event to a different charity.

“We review applications and pick the one we feel has the most need for the money,” Reynolds said.

This year’s recipient is Court Appointed Special Advocates of South Central Kentucky, an organization that provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children, most of whom are in foster care, CASA Executive Director Will Constable said.

“We try to see that their needs are met – that they have the very best services such as medical dental and therapy,” he said. “Our ultimate and overarching goal is that all the children we work with have safe, permanent homes.”

The grant from the Junior Woman’s Club will meet specific needs for CASA, such as buying training material for new volunteers, placing advertisements to recruit volunteers and contributing to the salary of a part-time advocate coordinator, Constable said.

“When we recruit more volunteers, we can serve more children,” he said.

— Laurel Wilson covers faith and general assignments for the Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at or visit

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