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Barbecue, bull rides and bounce houses

Third annual Rib Festival draws crowds, despite clouds
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Correspondent
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Saturday?s cloudy skies and the occasional raindrop did not stop Lincoln residents from enjoying the Lincoln All-America City Rib Festival. The nonprofit Friends of Lincoln Kids organized the third annual Rib Festival. Sections of F and 5th streets were closed to traffic so spectators could check out hot rods, enjoy live music, and yes, eat some ribs, with all of the proceeds benefiting local organizations that give Lincoln youth activities to do. ?We love it,? Veronica Gomez said of the festival. Gomez and her family, recently moving from San Francisco to Lincoln, showed up to watch the Lincoln Crossing Choir perform and stayed for the ribs. ?There are beautiful arts and crafts here,? Gomez said. Crystal Gomez enjoyed a pony ride, just one of many activities set up Saturday to keep children entertained. The bounce houses and mechanical bull ride were new additions to the festival this year, according to Jeff Greenberg, Friends of Lincoln Kids president. Some children tested their skills by riding the bull. ?That hurt. It was awesome,? said Cailynn Dunn, 10, about her encounter with the mechanical bull. ?I wanna go again!? Mayor Spencer Short also enjoyed the festival. ?It?s been good. It?s good to see a large group of folks out,? Short said. ?The festival looks bigger than last year.? An estimated crowd of 15,000 attended the festival last year, according to Greenberg on Monday, and attendance was estimated by vendors to be larger this year. The main attraction was still the ribs, supplied by five rib cookers. The festivities were courtesy of the Friends of Lincoln Kids, an organization that Greenberg said was formed to help programs that provide activities for area youth. ?Everything that comes in goes to Friends of Lincoln Kids,? Greenberg said, which includes fees that the vendors and sponsors pay to have their booths featured during the festival. ?No one on the board takes a salary, so after the hard expenses, everything left over goes to the kids.? As expenses are still being paid, Greenberg was not sure how much proceeds will be made from Saturday?s event. The organization will donate proceeds to the Police Activities League and the Lincoln Rifle Club. ?Last year, we gave money to the P.A.L.,? Greenberg said. ?We also donated a gaming table to the Lincoln Community Center.?