POLICE SEARCH FOR ARMED MAN ON ROOF

Officers were searching for a man armed with a rifle in east Columbus. Get the story.

W.Va.'s pre-Lent Fasnacht bash chases off winter

By By VICKI SMITH

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Deep in the mountains of West Virginia, the descendants of Swiss and German immigrants have Fasnacht (FOSS-knocked).

It's smaller by thousands and colder by 40 degrees, but it's also a last hurrah before Lent.

On Saturday, hundreds will trek to the small town of Helvetia.

They'll don papier-mâché masks for a candlelight parade. They'll dine on sausage, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, and dance to Appalachian music at a masked ball.

At midnight, they'll toss Old Man Winter's effigy into a bonfire to chase away winter.

Longtime resident Debbie Sayre says it often backfires: It's not unusual for it be 50 degrees Saturday then snow Sunday.

This weekend's forecast calls for rain and snow Friday night, but colder, drier conditions Saturday.

___

Online:

Helvetia: http://helvetiawv.com/

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.